Controlled Burn Sends Smoke Over Bryan County - - No One Gets You Closer

Controlled Burn Sends Smoke Over Bryan County

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- They are called controlled burns, but they look exactly like the real thing. A huge controlled burn at an Army Corps campground drew the attention of plenty of people in Denison and Colbert.

Park rangers set the fire at West Burns Run, an area they say has not been burned through in about 10 years. They say these burns will help stop brush fires from sparking later in the summer.

A giant cloud of smoke attracted the attention of drivers in Grayson and Bryan counties. "He wanted to see the fire so we decided to drive out and see the fire," says Pottsboro area resident Matt Kinnett.

Kinnett brought an excited 4-year-old to see the fire burning. After looking around, they found the source of the flames near the Denison Dam.

"You couldn't tell if it was in Oklahoma or Texas when you were over there in Denison. It's just a wide swath of smoke," says Kinnett.

"We're just doing a prescribed burn, hopefully to control some of the undergrowth the fuel load," says acting head Army Corps park ranger Shae Harrison. "Also, the invasive species of eastern red cedar, trying to reduce the number of them, mainly for wildlife habitat."

With the nice weather, you can already find some campers and they have been watching the controlled burn across the way.

"They came in on a 4-wheeler and one took one guy to the other end and then he went back and the guy worked his way up setting the fires," says camper Aggie Stroot of Minnesota.

"They know what they're doing, you know it ain't gonna get out of hand," says local camper Roy Bostick.

Campers at East Burns Run watched as different colors of smoke rose from the small peninsula at West Burns run, which is closed to vehicles for three more weeks until the start of the campground's summer season.

Harrison says six rangers and some volunteers were out working on the fire. "We like to set these fires when the environment's correct, where we can maintain the fire and keep it from getting out of hand. If we wait until the 100-degree weather and the middle of July and a fire kicks up, it's going to be a lot more devastating," says Harrison.

Harrison says they look for certain soil and wind conditions to burn. They did some burning at East Burns Run earlier in the week and right now, they do not have any firm plans to burn any other areas.