With a plan benefiting two city departments, Plano Fire-Rescue’s Wildland Firefighting team will work with Plano’s Parks Department to conduct a prescribed burn at the city’s Oak Point Nature Preserve this week.
One of the main goals of this burn is to control and gather information to prevent further spread of King Ranch Bluestem (KRB), an invasive plant species that has been observed to diminish grassland bird diversity and abundance by reducing insect diversity. It also has negative impacts on other wildlife. According to current research, KRB is best controlled by prescribed burns done in late summer or early fall.
Weather conditions and firefighter staffing must be just right for the burn to take place, and forecast information is currently showing that Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week will provide the most favorable conditions. A spot weather forecast will be obtained from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth each day and a Go or No Go decision will be made immediately prior to any planned ignition.
Consideration of available fuels, predicted fire behavior and, most importantly, smoke management concerns will be taken as a decision is made.
Students from Collin College and Plano Senior High School will be collecting data before and after the burn to determine the effects of the burn on controlling KRB. The information gathered could lead to long-term benefits for the preservation of the natural grasses and wildlife.