By Jason Chlapek
Clouds of smoke could be seen for miles Thursday afternoon.
And no fire departments were called to the scene.
That’s because it was a controlled burn.
The controlled burn took place southwest of Livingston in the vicinity of Farm-to-Market Roads 350 and 3126.
The project was conducted by Lone Star Forestry LLC out of Huntsville.
“We had zero issues,” Joe Pfluger of Lone Star Forestry said. “We burned 320 acres and did another 360 acres in San Jacinto County on Friday."
The prescribed burn began at 9 a.m. Thursday and was completely put out by 6:30 p.m.
Lone Star Forestry services Grimes, Polk, San Jacinto and Walker counties, to name a few. Pfluger also said that the prescribed burns revolve around one thing.“It’s all about the weather,” he said. “Weather is our boss. We’re looking for the right weather conditions such as wind, wind speed, temperature, humidity, the fuel on the ground, homes, people, airports, funeral homes, anything you could think of that cause issues with smoke. We wouldn’t want to be blowing into the city limits or the homes around us. We get a bunch of blocks set up and we wait for the right conditions to do the burn.”
Lone Star Forestry recently received some grant money from the US Forest Service to help fund controlled burns. Pfluger believes controlled burns are necessary.
“This is something that people should want more of,” he said. “The biggest part of the prescribed burn is to prevent wildfires. Fire is something of nature and has been for thousands of years. It’s by all means a good thing.”
The irony behind prescribed burns is that they can reduce wild fires.
“Prescribed burns reduce the fuel that’s out there,” Pfluger said. “Every year, pine straw and leaves fall and they accumulate. They’re tender blocks waiting to be lit. If we can keep a burn schedule of 2-3 years, we can eliminate the fuel. You’re also protecting the timber investment. It also enhances wildlife habitat and we want to get the woods back to their native state. You want to drive through the woods and see a grassy meadow underneath the trees. If it’s a controlled burn, it’s a good thing.”