Wildfire Preparedness Tips and Resources for Ranchers and Landowners

Source:  AgriLife Today

With the wildfire season really heating up, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is offering several fact sheets to help ranchers and landowners prepare for and mitigate wildfire damages.

“We had a fabulously wet spring, we grew a lot of grass and now it has been dry,” said Tim Steffens, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension range management specialist in Canyon. “These little rains we’ve been having aren’t going to change that until we have a good snow on the ground.”

Two publications covering wildfire behavior and emergency responses that can help protect property and lives when wildfire occurs are offered by Steffens and Morgan Treadwell, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension range specialist, San Angelo.

Steffens said doing some strategic grazing and moving cattle from one pasture to another will help manage fuels one pasture at a time.

He said the best plan is to “plan ahead,” so if you have cropland as well as rangeland when March and April come around, the livestock can be pastured near a plowed field where they can escape a wall of fire onto dirt.

Another piece of advice is to start fireproofing the headquarters as much as possible. Put in gravel where possible, keep the weeds low and make sure nothing is piled alongside the house or buildings. More information is offered in the publications.

Prepping roads or perimeter fire breaks with burnout operations widens the fire break and provides an extra buffer from lofting embers from an active fire.

But Treadwell warns that any prescribed fire or burnout operation this time of year needs to be thoroughly thought out and successfully executed within appropriate weather conditions.


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