2012-02-23 / General Stories

Fire Comes to the Knobbs

by Raymond Butler

This past summer was a hot and tragic time for Central Texas. Record breaking temperatures, record breaking wildfires and a drought that broke records across the west are compelling us to find solutions to climate change and work to support our natural systems. We have not, unfortunately, figured out how to turn down our furnace temperatures of summer time, nor have we come up with any ideas of how to add water to a drought. However, we have come up with a plan to help protect our beloved Yegua Knobbs Preserve (YKP) from the horrific devastation that dry built-up underbrush and dead trees can bring. Pines and Prairies Land Trust (PPLT) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service ( USFWS) have surveyed the property for solutions to the underbrush problems and have developed a burn plan.

The burn, planned for later this month, will be the Lee County area, the northeast section of the YKP. There are other prescribed burns to be set at later dates. These burns will provide fertilizer to the soil in the form of ashes, open ground for new growth of more food for our wild inhabitants, and aid in the propagation process of certain native species in the area, thus aiding in removing food for future wildfires.

In preparation of this upcoming burn, volunteers with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Master Naturalists Program (TPWMN) from The Lost Pines and The Capitol Area chapters, as well as PPLT volunteers, on January 18, 2012, began to clear the County Line Trail as a fire break. As a group they are a jovial crew, cutting up and getting the job done. They took on the task with chain saws, limb pruners, pole saws and good old fashioned elbow grease. First comes the rough cuts, then clear the debris and finally pull the sides back. After 3 hours, where there was once an overgrown trail, now lies a freshly cut firebreak, ready for the USFWS to conduct the burn.

For information about the burn and other Pines and Prairies Land Trust programs, please call Carrie Knox at 512-308-1911 or email carrie.knox@pplt.org.

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