Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT) Update
By Kent Evans, Coordinator
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Longleaf Team provided a demonstration of forest prescribed burning for area landowners on March 3. About 30 persons gathered to see how to plan and execute a 100-acre understory burn in mature pine on the Winston Ranch, north of Lufkin. Bob Baker (TPWD Biologist) provided an extensive pre-burn briefing which set assignments and expectations for the burn. Participants learned to expect changes in humidity, temperature, and wind speed and their predicted effects on fuels. The target audience was landowners on the fire line for their first time. Landowners were paired with experienced burn crew members who guided their use of drip torches, fire rakes, and flappers. Supporting the burn demo from the Winston Ranch were Simon Winston and Paul Wood. The ranch has several thousand acres of loblolly and longleaf pine, burned on a 2 to 3-year rotation. They were eager to share their expertise in burning. They have a passion for prescribed burning knowing how it provides many wildlife benefits and reduces wildfire risk to Winston’s timber holdings.
Winston is enthusiastic about the robust habitat improvements which are boosting his resident turkey population, not common in East Texas. Simon Winston is choosing to reforest with longleaf pine as their loblolly matures and is harvested. Burn day participants were able to see Winston’s restoration projects of maturing longleaf stands and native grasses. The Texas Longleaf Implementation Team planned more training opportunities for prescribed burning this year. A “Fire Effects Tour” on The Nature Conservancy’s Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary held in May was followed by a Texas Certified Burn Manager Course in June.
Image 1: Turkeys in recently burned native switchgrass. Photo by Paul Wood.