Nacogdoches, Forest Service firefighters use prescribed burns for training

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - As we reported earlier, fire can be devastating to property and lives.

However, firefighters have known for a long time fire is also a valuable tool when used properly.  This doesn't mean there's not room to learn more.

In Nacogdoches, firefighters and Texas Forest Service crews participated in the annual prescribed burn at SFA's Tucker Woods Bog Thursday.

"Which is reducing these fine fuels that lead to bigger fires," said Chief Keith Kiplinger of the Nacogdoches Fire Department.

The devastating fires seen in 2011 across the state come to mind. One of them struck Nacogdoches and Cherokee counties. Since 2011, wildfire research has picked up.

"Fire is a science all to itself," said John Boyette, a district forester with the Texas Forest Service.

As district forester, Boyette manned the Tucker Woods prescribed burn, and his Texas Forest Service colleagues set fires in Bastrop County.

Researchers use drones and heat targets to find out how fire burns under certain conditions.

The results should interest fire chiefs everywhere.

"Because that we have that are in that wildland-urban interface, we have a significant danger that those small fine fuels in the forest can very easily get into the trees and into the homes," Kiplinger said.

"The fire department has really come on board with wildland firefighting stuff," Boyette said. "You see they're all equipped pretty much like us. They have the wildland protective gear, and they've got their own drip torches."

Together the partnership, property owner awareness and science will protect property and lives against wildland fires.

Many urban firefighters are called to help during large wildfires. Certification is an ongoing process. The training places more people on the ground when help is needed.

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