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In Texas, Using Fire to Protect and Expand Water Supplies

Fire and water may seem at odds with each other, but Austin’s city-owned water utility is using prescribed burning in an effort to help more rainfall make its way underground to the Edwards Aquifer. Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation Division is conducting the burns on over 380 acres of Hay County that feed into the Barton Springs Segment of [...]

How a Respite in the Drought Has Brought Fall Colors to Central Texas

Think of fall’s turning leaves, and Texas may not be the first state to come to mind. But Austinites have seen their fair share of autumnal red and gold this year – thanks in large part to recent rains. Jerry Brand, a molecular bioscience professor at the University of Texas, says the color changes in [...]

High Wildfire Risk, Longer Fire Season Possible This Year

Scientists warn that wildfire risks could be increasing in the Southwest due to climate change.

Major wildfires could occur across the Southwest this year, including in Texas, according to several scientists on a Climate Nexus panel Tuesday. Now that Texas in its third year of drought, the state is likely to experience a longer fire season as a result of dry conditions and rising summer temperatures. High fire risk conditions [...]

Federal Cuts Mean Fewer Resources This Wildfire Season

Lone Camp Volunteer Fire Department chief Charlie Sims leads his crew while fighting a wildfire on September 1, 2011 in Graford, Texas.

First, the good news for Texas. Most of the state is not expected to be at an “above average” risk for wildfires this summer, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The reason for that might depress you: in parts of the state with less vegetation, like West Texas, years of drought and fire mean [...]

Bills Aim to Ease Prescribed Burns to Prevent Wildfires

Larry Joe Doherty is the president of the Prescribed Burn Alliance of Texas. He uses prescribed burning on his ranch. If passed, two Senate bills would regulate the practice and insurance requirements to carry it out.

Two bills promoting responsible prescribed burning received a public hearing in the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee Wednesday morning. Both bills would indirectly influence the ease with which landowners could use this wildfire prevention technique on their land. SB 702 by state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, would establish standards for prescribed burners, as well as training, education [...]

Please Welcome the Lost Pines Back to Bastrop

Loblolly pine seedlings take root in the shadow of destroyed trees in Bastrop.

During the Labor Day Wildfires of 2011, tens of thousands of acres burned in Central Texas, destroying over 1,600 homes and killing 1.5 million trees. Some of those trees were true Texas treasures: the Lost Pines of Bastrop State Park, a unique forest nearly a hundred miles apart from the Piney Woods of East Texas. Ninety [...]

Texas Company Says It’s Found a Way to Turn Wood Into Gasoline

A Texas company says they've figured out a commercially-viable way to turn pine tree wood chips into gasoline.

Got any dead wood lying around your yard? If a new Texas company’s claims turn out to be accurate, that pile could theoretically fuel your car soon. In the New York Times, Matthew Wald reports on Pasadena, Texas-based biofuel company KiOR. They say they’ve come up with a process to affordably, cleanly process wood chips [...]

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