Prescribed burns over 280 acres of land starting Tuesday in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN)- Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation is conducting prescribed burns over 280 acres of the Water Quality Protection Lands on Tuesday, according to a press release from Austin Water.

The division plans to burn land over the next two days in efforts to restore native grasslands.

Smoke may be seen over South State Highway 45 and MoPac, east of FM 1826, west of Brodie Lane, and northwest of FM 1626.

The Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL) program manages more than 30,000 acres to control the quality and quantity of water that goes throughout Austin, including Edwards Aquifer, Barton Springs and to groundwater wells in Hays and Travis Counties.

Austin Water Wildland Conservation Division manages the lands over the water.

“Conducting prescribed burns is one of the strategies used to manage these lands and protect groundwater in Central Texas,” Austin Water Representative Matt Lore said. “Prescribed burns improve the resiliency of our land when they are used as a planned seasonal management tool.”

Prescribed burns are similar to a natural fire cycle but are organized to limit fire intensity and reduce the risk of potential wildfires in the future.

“Wildland Conservation staff has seen wildflowers and native grass communities experience greater biodiversity after prescribed fires,” the release states. “Grassland birds like quail and northern harrier hawks benefit from open habitat, found after a fire, for nesting and feeding.”

Austin Water staff, city and county fire departments as well as federal, state and local land management agencies ensures that safety is their number one priority.

They are partnered with neighboring fire departments and officials to ensure the prescribed burn program is successful.

“The prescription for each fire takes into account weather conditions, including wind and past precipitation,” the release states. “And requires specific parameters for the burn to ensure the fire behavior will meet objectives and can be safely controlled.”

Austin Water will notify residents before each prescribed burn event.

Neighbors or anyone interested to get notified in the future, can check the Austin Water website for further updates.

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