Monday, July 8, 2013

Habitat Restoration Burn and Fire Training This Week

Today's habitat burns and wildfire training are taking place near Decker Lane and Lake Walter E. Long.
Photos updated July 9, 2013

Austin firefighters will participate in habitat restoration burns and wildfire mitigation training at the Decker Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Decker Creek Power Station between Tuesday and Friday (subject to weather.)

Prescribed burns will be ignited on multiple days within approximately 130 acres at the south end of the peninsula, which is a 320-acre peninsula on the Walter E. Long Reservoir. Austin Fire Department and its partners, Austin Energy and Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) environmental staff will provide oversight and support for the exercise, which will be conducted in conjunction with the PARD’s Prescribed Burn Plan for the site. The plan calls for periodic burns to promote habitat restoration while proactively guarding against a potential fire hazard from the buildup of dead brush and grass.

The primary goal is to reduce woody species encroachment and improve the health of vegetation on the property
. AFD is also using the event as an interagency training opportunity and will be working with its partners. Austin Fire Department will have at least two teams operating four brush trucks at the site each day. All fires will be extinguished by 5 p.m. and the site will be monitored overnight by firefighters.

The Austin Fire Department and Austin Energy are alerting property and business owners, including two schools, about the planned burn to avoid any community alarm due to smoke and fire equipment.

Due to security at Decker Creek Power Station and safety requirements, there will be no public or media access to this exercise. 

Workers create a fire break at the north end of the burn area.

This week's activity is conducted by the Austin Fire Department with assistance from the Texas Forest Service.

Another fire break is created -- this one at the north end of the burn area. The tallgrass preserve is owned by Austin Parks and Recreation and is managed with Austin Energy. Background: Lake Walter E. Long

Firefighters monitor these cedar trees that are part of the July 9 prescribed burn activity.

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