TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Thousands of East Texans use Lake Tyler for recreation but Wednesday there was a very unusual sight; plumes of smoke in the air. That is because a controlled burn is taking place on Langley Island.
A group is trying to restore the over-grown island to attract diverse species and increase habitats.
From Chopper 7, smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from a good distance - flames visible in the brush. Down on the water it is evident the undertaking is major. Forester Jeff Williams explained how they first started a back-fire.
"You set the fire into the wind," said Williams.
They then went around the perimeter of the island. It is completely safe he says with everyone nearby notified. As for the animals that call this island home, Jeff says they know how to reach safety.
"We were walking the fire lanes and saw deer tracks and then right after we lit the fire we saw some more tracks," said Williams.
He says they will come right back and after the project is finished.
"The wildlife will have more food, they'll have more browse species that will come up for them."
Joe Marsey with the restoration project says Langley Island dates back to 1951.
"It was actually pasture land and cotton fields and if you look over there, there's nothing but trees now," said Marsey.
It is dense and deteriorated.
"A lot of people who've started it have moved on one way or another," said Marsey.
But, now with funding from TCEQ, they say this burn will spark re-growth.
"We're going to have hiking trails on there that'll be much more defined than they have been because we've got this 100' perimeter around the island now because of this burn," said Marsey.
It has been several years in the making, but now these good stewards are bringing life again to this historic island.