Large controlled burn in Hays County, helps local water quality

The fire began small, starting in a corner of the old 101 Ranch northwest to Buda. But flames quickly ate through the dry brush and even some trees.

The potential for quick flare ups like this was a hot topic earlier during the safety briefing with the fire crews.

"We are trying to push the property back to a Savannah type vegetation arraignment,” said Burn Boss Luke Ball.

Scorching the earth now, according to Ball, actually helps the landscape, and aquifer underneath it, stay healthy.

"The vegetation here recovers really quickly after a burn, and the native vegetation is a great way to slow down and filter water so it soaks into the ground and doesn't run off into our drainage and the slow water soaks into our aquifers and into our springs,” said Ball.

SKY FOX DRONE provides a clear birds-eye view of the 230 acres set on fire Thursday morning.

FOX 7 flew down the fire line as smoke rose into the air, which could be seen from Kyle and Buda, especially south of FM 967 and east of RR 150. The land is managed by Austin Water's Wildland Conservation Division.

The pace of the flames was dictated by a moderate breeze coming from the southeast.

Crews have been planning for this operation for about a year. Despite all that planning, there is one thing that they do know, and are concerned about. A controlled burn can quickly get out of control. 

"This isn't an animal that wants to be tamed, we do our best to over plan,” said AFD Battalion Chief Josh Portie.

Preparing for the unexpected began with crews from Austin, and Buda  burning in a fire break containment circle. "These are the guys and girls that are fighting fires every day, they've already been fighting fire for the last couple of days and weeks as we've been moving in to these conditions, so we know we are going to have active fire behavior, we know we are going to see spotting, fire getting a little outside of our unit, and wanting to move pretty aggressively,” said Portie.

This prescribed burn is schedule to run into Friday.

A larger one, of more than 500 acres on the ranch, is already in the works for later this summer.

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