San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 7th, 2014
Major controlled burn could send smoke Buda’s way

COVER: A worker uses a torch to burn unwanted vegetation on Friday on land that used to be part of the historic 101 Ranch near Buda. The historical marker in the foreground marks a family cemetery, which will not be touched during the controlled burn, said Amanda Ross, the environmental program coordinator for Austin Water Utility’s wildlands conservation division. CITY OF AUSTIN PHOTO


The city of Austin plans a large-scale controlled burn west of Buda on 450 acres of the conservation property the city’s water utility manages in northern Hays County.

Workers are burning off scrub vegetation and under brush as part of an effort to restore the property to native “grassland savannah,” said Amanda Ross, the environmental program coordinator for the utility’s wildlands conservation division.

People in the area of the control burn property, located west of FM 1826 and south of FM 967, may see smoke from mid-morning until sunset, Ross said. The conservation district is conducting the burn with backup from the Austin Fire Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the burned area will be “extensively patrolled for up to a week after the fire,” Ross said.

Since 1998, the city of Austin has amassed 14,000 contiguous acres of open space in northern Hays and southern Travis counties, either by buying the property outright or by buying conservation easements that prohibit development.

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