Prescribed Burns Prove Their Worth in the Climate-Stressed Texas Panhandle

"In a small Texas city, officials say land previously treated with a prescribed burn stopped the Windy Deuce Fire from entering neighborhoods. But the practice of intentionally burning excess vegetation has faced opposition from some private landowners."

"BORGER, Texas—Months before the Texas Panhandle erupted with destructive wildfires, fire crews in Borger were igniting fire intentionally on a seven-mile, roughly 250-foot wide ribbon of land on the edge of town.

The prescribed burn in November removed dense grass and brush next to homes on the southwest side of the town. When the Windy Deuce fire ravaged the region in February, the prescribed burn area acted as a fireproof wall that stopped the blaze in its tracks.

“I would bet my next paycheck, if that black line had not been there, we would have lost homes and, it’s quite possible, lives. There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Archie Stone, wildland fire coordinator for Borger, located 50 miles northeast of Amarillo. Stone is a state certified and insured burn manager in Texas and has spent decades fighting wildfires around the country.

The Windy Deuce fire burned an estimated 144,045 acres before it was contained. Nearby, the Smokehouse Creek fire burned more than a million acres as it became the largest wildfire in Texas history, decimating multiple counties and crossing into Oklahoma. At least two people died, hundreds of buildings burned and thousands of livestock were killed."

Keaton Peters reports for Inside Climate News April 15, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 04/16/2024