Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT)
Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT) Update
By Kent Evans, Texas LIT
Our team wants to increase burning in east Texas. We market cost-share programs for burning through NRCS, USFWS, and our fiduciary, Texas A&M Forest Service. We also provide training to increase the number of qualified burners. We teamed up with Texas A&M Forest Service lead instructor, Andy McCrady, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Chris Schenck, to offer the Texas Certified Insured Prescribed Burn Manager course June 25-28. Most of the 13 participants that completed the 4-day course were from Texas burn companies; others attended to maintain certification in Texas. The required training burn was held at the E.O. Siecke State Forest, hosted by Area Forester Joel Hambright and District Forester Ben Plunkett. The growing season burn was completed under a mature overstory of 60 to 80 year old longleaf with an average BA of 50. The stand was being invaded by woody competition: yaupon, wax myrtle, and sweet gum. Mid-summer burning was a new experience for many of the 26 burn participants. The outcome was excellent with minimal crown scorch and 80-90% control of target species. Plunkett was pleased to see the effectiveness of summer burning where he had cured light fuels of perennial grasses to carry the fire. Plunkett said they traditionally do dormant season burning, but “this expands our burn windows” allowing more of the calendar for burn projects. They saw little mortality of young longleaf in the stand. Visitors are welcome to stop by this historical state forest east of Kirbyville where you will see the state’s first fire lookout tower (1926). The first pine seedling nursery and silvicultural research program was located here. The stand inside the front gate is one of the best examples of the native herbaceous community in east Texas, the outcome of decades of faithful prescribed burning.
Ricky Massey with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers prepares to light the grassy fuels to control yaupon and myrtle. Photo by Sam McCalip.