Big Bend National Park announces temporary closures for prescribed burn

The Rio Grande Village area for Big Bend National Park will be closed on Wednesday, April 6 and Thursday, April 7 for a prescribed burn. The 43-acre prescribed burn will along the Rio Grande from Daniels’s Ranch to the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail. 

The Daniel’s Ranch picnic area, Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, and Rio Grande Village boat launch will be closed for the prescribed burn. 

The burn will be conducted by park staff, Yellowstone firefighters, and the Los Diablos fire crew. 

We are fortunate to have 30 years of loyal service from our neighbors across the Rio in Boquillas, San Vicente, and Santa Elena supporting our efforts," said the park’s Fire Management Officer D.W. Ivans. "We are also taking advantage of optimal weather conditions and the existing RGV campground closure to conduct this important prescribed fire."

 This fire is specifically planned to reduce stands of non-native river cane, restore willow habitat, and open up banks of the river for recreational use. Credit: NPS DWIvans

The National Park Service uses prescribed fires to manage vegetation, reduce fuels, and restore more natural ecosystems, according to a press release on the scheduled burn. The prescribed burn at Big Bend National Park will reportedly be used to reduce stands of non-native river cane, restore willow habitat, and open up banks of the river for recreational use. 

"This dense fuel source, if ignited, also threatens nearby Daniel’s Ranch historic buildings," the press release explains. "Over the decades, the Rio Grande has become increasingly channelized, as invasive river cane forms dense thickets and traps sediment. With the removal of this cane, the river can carry the sediment downstream, opening up gravel bars and wider flood plains again. These in turn are beneficial to wildlife such as mussels, fish, and beaver, and provide campsites for river users. Resource staff will follow the burn with an herbicide application to the river cane."

Park visitors should drive cautiously as there may be more traffic due to operations associated with the prescribed fire, high spring visitation, and areas of road resurfacing. Visitors can check park alerts and conditions here.
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