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Spring growth could fuel summer fires

Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell

Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell illustrates the concept of a 'defensible space' near the city’s firehouse on RR 1431. Residents and businesses should trim back thick brush and high grass now after recent rains to protect structures from wildfires as the risk increases during the hotter, drier summer. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Spring rains have nurtured waves of flowers and quenched dry creekbeds, but that luscious growth could become a wildfire hazard during the summer. Now is the best time to clear brush and thick vegetation before they dry out and become potential fire fuel, Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell told

“The recent rains are great for filling up our springs and rivers, it’s all good for us, but keep in mind that all of the new plant growth is new fuel,” he said. “Coming into summer, if the rain stops, then all of that new growth is fuel for brush fires.”

This time last year, brush and wildfires were burning across Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties, but the wetter weather of 2023 has kept blazes at bay. Conditions could change quickly, Campbell warned, noting that he and his crews responded to two brush fires in the past week.

“We’ve had rain, but it’s still dry out there,” he said. “With some high winds and high temperatures, we could start having brush fires, even now.”

Brush clearing in Granite Shoals
City of Granite Shoals work crews take advantage of the green vegetation and recent rains to clear land and light burn piles before conditions become too dry and dangerous to do so. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Clearing brush and trimming trees while vegetation is still green can mitigate fire risks and create what Campbell called a “defensible space,” a clear area that can help prevent flames from reaching structures.

The Texas A&M Forest Service issues guidelines on how to create defensible spaces around homes and other structures to protect them from wildfires. 

Granite Shoals Streets and Parks employees are currently taking advantage of the milder weather and clearing land around City Hall. The city is particularly vulnerable to wildfires, according to Campbell, who said its numerous undeveloped lots can allow fires to spread.

Granite Shoals Fire Rescue is also contracted with Burnet County Emergency Services District No. 3, which provides emergency services for properties in unincorporated areas around the city.