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Contact: Jennette Jurado, 432-477-1109
From April 4th to 8th, 2017, Big Bend National Park plans to conduct prescribed burns along the Rio Grande. The park will be using prescribed fire to help restore the riparian areas between Talley and Gravel Pit, which includes Mariscal and San Vicente Canyons. During this time, access to Talley, La Clocha, and Gravel Pit campsites will be temporarily restricted.
The National Park Service uses prescribed fires to manage vegetation, reduce fuels, and restore more natural ecosystems. This fire is specifically planned to reduce stands of non-native river cane, restore willow habitat, and open up banks of the river for recreational use. Over the decades, the Rio Grande has become increasingly channelized, as invasive river cane forms dense thickets and traps sediment. With the removal of this cane, the river can carry the sediment downstream, opening up gravel bars and wider flood plains again. These in turn are beneficial to wildlife such as mussels, fish, and beaver, and provide camp sites for river users.
“Fire is a tool that can help restore ecosystems,” says Acting Superintendent Vidal Davila. “Our fire management staff is an incredible part of the team, helping to remove these exotic species and make the river’s edge a healthier place.”
For more information on prescribed fires in National Park areas, visit https://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/prescribed-fire.cfm.