Controlled Burns Planned For Cedar Hill State Park - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Controlled Burns Planned For Cedar Hill State Park

South Grand Prairie residents receive reverse 911 calls as crews plan to ignite more than 250 acres near Joe Pool Lake



    People who live near Cedar Hill State Park might see smoke in the coming days, but there's no need to panic, controlled burns are planned at the park. (Published Friday, Feb. 22, 2013)

    Prescribed burns are again being planned at Cedar Hill State Park.

    Last year was the first time in about 20 years that a prescribed burn took place close to the residential communities near Joe Pool Lake.

    This year, signs will warn drivers along Lake Ridge Parkway in South Grand Prairie about a future prescribed burn and what they should and shouldn't do.

    "If they see the smoke, not to call 911, that we are aware that the control burn is taking place and people that have lung related illnesses to stay indoors for their own health," said Tonya Hunter, emergency management coordinator with the City of Grand Prairie.

    Hunter said lots of growth with residential neighborhoods makes it crucial to keep the area safe from wildfires.

    "We actually used our reverse 911 system yesterday. Our emergency notification system contacted about 4,700 households," she said.

    Various spots within Cedar Hill State Park will be burned next week as long as the weather holds out.

    "As people have moved in, you suppress fire to protect homes and property. Then the woody species invade and then you have densely wooded areas," said Joshua Choate, assistant superintendent at Cedar Hill State Park. "Fire naturally occurs three to seven years, when it was unsuppressed by man, so we're trying to get back into a rotation where we can benefit the ecosystem."

    Last year the Texas Parks and Wildlife targeted to burn more than 400 acres. This year the plan is to target about 260 acres. The prescribed burn could begin as early as Monday.

    Officials will notify residents in the area at least 48 hours before the burns begin.