If you see smoke billowing up from the Southeast part of town the next few days, it will probably be the controlled burn that the city is doing.

Weather permitting, the Wichita Falls Fire Department will be conducting prescribed burns for the next few days, beginning Wednesday, June 16th. The locations of the burns will be behind Scales Construction at 5202 Old Jacksboro Highway and at 1622 Archer City Highway behind Texas Nightlife.

The burns are part of a mitigation project to reduce large bird species activity in the area around the Kickapoo Airport. The burn areas contain many brush piles that create a habitat for the prey that large bird species are searching for. It is this large bird activity that has caused an increase in safety concerns for all flights using that airfield and burns like this are the best way to mitigate that danger without causing any actual harm to the birds.

In addition to helping to ensure safe flight lanes, prescribed burns also provide realistic, first hand training for the Wichita Falls Fire Department. It's a chance to let the newer firefighters put their training to work, and a chance to get them more familiar with their gear and equipment. That will enhance the capabilities of the fire department when they're called out to fight structure fires around the city.

To ensure the safety of nearby residents and businesses, firefighters will be remaining on-site conducting post burn work even after the flames have been extinguished.

Firewoman in fire protection suit and mask
Jasmina81 / ThinkStock

The burns are expected to begin around 8:00 a.m. and traffic may have to be diverted in some areas for short periods of time so remain alert and mindful of firefighters working in these areas over the next few days.

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