Big Bend National Park will close part of the park on April 6 and 7 as staff plan to initiate a 43-acre prescribed burn along the Rio Grande.
According to the National Park Service, fire managers will be using prescribed fire as a natural resource habitat treatment to control exotic giant cane, restore the willow habitat, and open up banks of the river for recreational use.
The project area is located along the River Corridor from Daniel’s Ranch to the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, the National Park Service said.
The National Park Service said that while the prescribed burn is taking place, visitors will encounter temporary closures at the Daniel's Ranch area, the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, and the Rio Grande Village Boat Launch.
According to the National Park Service, prescribed fires are used to manage vegetation, reduce fuels, and restore more natural ecosystems. This dense fuel source, if ignited, also threatens nearby Daniel’s Ranch historic buildings.
The National Park Service said the Rio Grande has become increasingly channelized as invasive river cane forms dense thickets and traps sediment.
By removing the river cane, the river can carry the sediment downstream, opening up gravel bars and wider flood plains again that benefit wildlife like mussels, fish, and beaver, and provide campsites for river users.
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Resource staff will follow the burn with an herbicide application to the river cane, the National Park Service said.
According to the National Park Service, the burn will be conducted by park staff, Yellowstone fire fighters, 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.”
The National Park Service said visitors should drive cautiously because there may be more traffic during the prescribed fire. High spring visitation and areas of road resurfacing can also contribute to traffic.
Visitors are can check park alerts and conditions online at www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.