Authors: Kevin Knapick, Morgan Treadwell, Robert Knight, Urs Kreuter, and Roel Lopez

Four major brush management strategies exist that landowners can utilize to reduce woody vegetation and potentially hazardous fuels. When compared to the four other range management strategies in this publication, prescribed fire is the most cost-effective method when managing for herbaceous production, but only when conducted safely and by all laws and regulations established by TCEQ and TPBB.

Many landowners have questions and concerns about utilizing prescribed fire, from liability concerns to cost-share assistance and training. Several resources exist to alleviate costs and concerns through state agencies as well as prescribed burn associations to help plan long-term management investments along with the critical burn plans associated with prescribed fire implementation.

To assist landowners with economic planning, programs such as PESTMAN exist to allow experimentation with costs and benefits to determine the best management strategy for landowners to maximize their investment. Prescribed burn associations exist to alleviate the costs and labor associated with implementing prescribed fire and will provide training and observation opportunities for concerned landowners to experience prescribed fire firsthand. Online resources exist to provide educational opportunities and resources to landowners and CIPBMs to ensure that fire is applied safely and effectively to meet management objectives.

Finally, fire is the historical management practice that sustained southern ecosystems for hundreds of years. It is our responsibility to ensure that it evolves to coexist with an expanding urban culture to maximize its effectiveness to sustain our ecosystems and protect our communities for future generations to enjoy.