Don't panic: Hagerman burn aims to curb wildfire threat - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Don't panic: Hagerman burn aims to curb wildfire threat

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A prescribed burn at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. (KTEN) A prescribed burn at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. (KTEN)
The controlled burn at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge reduces the volume of flammable underbrush. (KTEN) The controlled burn at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge reduces the volume of flammable underbrush. (KTEN)

GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas -- Summer typically means hot and dry weather, but this year has been different across Texoma.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Grayson County tells us we haven't really seen any drought-like conditions in 2019. While it was a little dry last month, precipitation over the past couple of weeks has restored missing moisture.

"We've had a quarter-inch to almost an inch in different parts of the county over the last couple weeks," said extension agent Marshall Tolleson. "Before that, we've had some seasonal drought conditions, is what I would call it."

Conditions were perfect this week for a controlled burn at the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge west of Sherman. While it may seem counterintuitive to set fire to a wilderness area, it's a proven technique that reduces the amount of combustible underbrush.

"It's a very safe operation. We don't take risks when we're doing this. That's why we're bringing skilled and trained personnel," explained the refuge's deputy manager Paul Balkenbush.  "Wildfire is a part of the prairie habitat and how it's maintained, so if we put fire back on the landscape to control it and we do it in a safe manner, then we can really help augment our prairie resources here and also put some nutrients back in the soil."

The prescribed burn started Wednesday and was expected to be complete by the end of the day Thursday.

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