TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When the Easter Blues Fire threatened Big Country homes, first responders came to their aid. One Taylor County man said he’s thankful for their work when his home was threatened.
Steve McVey owns land just three miles outside Coronado’s Camp, off FM 89. While he lost almost 30 acres, he said he’s thankful for quick and decisive actions taken by firefighters.
“That kept this three or four hundred acre fire from becoming three or four thousand acres,” McVey said with grace. “My kids and I, both, probably would have lost our homes.”
The flames may have been quickly doused, but the path of destruction left behind still poses a threat to land owners like McVey.
“Well, yes, there’s a lot of work ahead of all of us. We’ll get the burnt trees and stumps pulled up, and then level the ground a little bit, and then go back and plow and seed it, and pray for rain,” McVey listed.
If not properly dealt with in a timely manner, the affected land could fall victim to erosion; a possibility McVey won’t entertain.
“You’ve got to take care of it, you can’t leave it barren,” McVey insisted.
This is the same threat that any landowner faces following a large-scale wildfire. Stuart Morris of the Texas A&M Forest Service said the fallout can be longstanding.
“The devastation has probably affected that landscape for the next 10 to 20 years,” Morris advised.
If properly managed, fires like the Easter Blues Fire can provide an opportunity to control bushy growth on a property, according to Morris.
“As you see, shrubs start to grow back,” Morris demonstrated. “If you’re able to, just kind of mowing pathways in that… Creating a controlled growth, and not just letting it grow back into a thicket, essentially.”
Promoting the growth of native grasses and trees over bushier plant life can also help with future fires, by cutting down on the amount of fuel available to burn.
“If you’re willing to promote that sort of natural landscape, again, when a fire comes through, it acts as sort of a clean slate,” Morris said.
The Texas A&M forest service provides more information on natural disaster recovery on their website.