Starting this weekend, if you see a lot of smoke and haze north of Amarillo, you do not need to be concerned. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning to start a 1,000-acre prescribed burn at the Cross Bar Management Area. This area is located about 15 miles north of Amarillo, south of the Canadian River, and almost two miles west of U.S. Highway 87/287 near the Canadian River Bridge.

The burn is expected to take place from Saturday, February 29th through Saturday, March 7th. It was originally scheduled for earlier this month, however the weather did not cooperate. The forecast for the next week looks to be calm and dry with the exception of one rainy day next week. Factors including wind speed and wind direction, as well as humidity, are considered when assessing conditions. The burn project could take up to six days and smoke may be visible for up to a week after the burn is complete.

 

The BLM says that the objective for this burn is to maintain the native grass species by reducing decadent mesquite, cholla cactus, and invasive weeds; lessen wildfire risks by reducing heavy fuel loads; improve ecosystem health; and enhance wildlife habitat. The Cross Bar, originally bought by the Federal government in 1931 as part of the establishment of the strategic helium reserve, encompasses around 12,000 acres.  The BLM manages the property, the only parcel the agency manages in Texas, for its ecological and recreational value.