TYLER, Texas (KETK) – On Wednesday, KETK received many calls from our viewers who saw heavy smoke. According to fire officials, the smoke was due to one of many routine prescribed burns across the East Texas area.
The Texas Forest Service conducted a controlled burn of 400 acres in between Palestine and Rusk . Officials said that these types of fires are necessary for the ecosystem.
Fire officials say that there will be more controlled burns from February until March.
A certain species of plants only thrive when they are frequently burned.
Weather also played a huge role according to the Texas Forest Service. Winds must be between six and 23 miles per hour to ensure the air quality and safety of the surrounding areas.
“If there is a neighboring land owner with a known breathing issue, we will try to work with them. But also if it’s in an area that’s near an airport or hospital, nursing home or a school, the obviously we’re not going to conduct burn,” Billy Whitworth, with the Texas A&M Forest Service, said.
Whitworth recommends that landowners who need a prescribed burn, hire a licensed vendor from the Texas Department of Agriculture which would ensure everyone’s safety and reduce liability.
Typically there will not be an area wide alert, but by law anyone who will conduct one of these prescribed burns, must contact the Texas A&M Forest Services, then they will notify neighboring landowners.
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