Saturday, December 12, 2015

Prescribed Burn at San Angelo State Park

San Angelo State Park has been conducting a prescribed burn recently. The recent rather calm winds in the area have cooperated to create a good window for the burn. Donna and I had seen the plumes of smoke as we darted about town running errands, and the local news stations carried updates each night.

With the good weather, we decided to get out and get a bit of exercise. With all of the preparations for our move, we had been neglecting our health, and we both really wanted to get out and stretch our legs. We thought it might be interesting to walk in the park and check on the burn. However, on the particular day we picked, the burn was near the headquarters building and admittance to the park was restricted. So, we turned around and headed to the dam.

The land below the dam had already been subjected to the burn, but an occasional pillar of smoke could still be seen rising into the sky.

According to information provided on the Concho Valley Home Page, "Prescribed burns are used as a management tool in state parks to improve habitat for wildlife by restoring forest and prairie habitats on [sic] the park that were historically maintained by natural fires.  They also are conducted to reduce the amount of available fuels, such as leaf litter, fallen branches, understory growth and dead trees that accumulate naturally and from storm events.  By reducing the amount of available fuels, prescribed burns reduce the chance for a potentially destructive wildfire to occur."

About 1,000 acres were included in the burn. Below are some pictures I took from the dam.

This area had been burned in the days prior to our walk. The fire had been contained by the large rocks forming the foundation of the dam and the lake itself.

I zoomed in for this shot. The fire only burns undergrowth, leaf litter, and similar fuel. Mesquites will survive the fire. Notice the burned prickly pear cactus plants.
Most of the burn on this day was concentrated near the park headquarters. The southerly wind blew the smoke over the lake.

Previously burned area between park road and lake.

Two lone smoke pillars rise from previously burned area along base of dam.

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