East Texas landowners can benefit from prescribed burning despite bans

Published: Aug. 20, 2015 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2015 at 4:54 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - East Texas landowners and farming communities, who have been handicapped by burn bans this summer, can benefit from a grant designed to reimburse them for scorching their land.

The Texas A&M Forest Service is now offering to pay landowners for helping to reduce overgrown vegetation on their lands, in the way of prescribed burning, according to a news release.

Many families who depend on agriculture and rural development rely on the ability to burn their land to make room for crops, or for grass for their livestock to feed on. Ever since burn bans were issued across the majority of East Texas this summer, many of those families likely felt the pressure when it came to livelihood versus obeying the law.

RELATED: Burn bans a challenge for agricultural Hopkins County

The Community Protection Program Prescribed Fire Grant, originally created in 2006, allows trained specialists to conduct burns to remove dangerous fuel loads and return the ecosystem to its natural state, benefiting landowners, local communities, wildfires and forests, according to TFS. 

"This year's abundant rainfall has increased the already problematic amount of hazardous understory vegetation in our East Texas forests. When the weather is hot and dry, this 'fuel' can contribute to dangerous wildfires," Andy McCrady, fuels coordinator with Texas A&M Forest Service, said in the release. "Prescribed burning during late winter and spring is an effective tool to remove heavy fuel loads."

According to TFS, the department passed through grants for prescribed burning on 2,141 acres for $64,245 in funding by the U.S. Forest Service last year.
This year, more than $225,00 is available. 

The TFS? does not conduct the prescribed burns. Upon approval of funding, the prescribed burn will be conducted by a contractor of the landowner's choice. Landowners can expect reimbursement of up to $30 per acre, pending successful burn inspection by TFS.

The deadline for application submission is September 30, 2015.

For more information and to download an application visit: tfsweb.tamu.edu/cppgrant.

For more information on prescribed burning visit goodfires.org, or the Prescribed Burning Board page.

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