Prescribed Fire: Half-Pint Prairie at UT Austin

What’s a prescribed fire and how does it work? Also called a controlled burn, University of Texas at Austin senior Jack Rouse carried the directed torch to the Half-Pint Prairie, a project of the Campus Environmental Center, a student-led environmental action group.
Jack Rouse Half-Pint Prairie control burn University of Texas_Central Texas Gardener
A team leader who helped develop and plant Half-Pint in 2018-2019 to illustrate the native beauty and benefits of the Blackland Prairie, Jack wanted to document the regenerative process after fire.
Half-Pint Prarie native grasses before prescribed fire UT Austin Central Texas Gardener
Prescribed fire start Half-Pint Prairie Jack Rouse and Matt O'Toole Central Texas Gardener
Prescribed fires expert Matt O’Toole, Director of Land Resources at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has mentored the Half-Pint team members since the start. On November 30, he supervised Jack in his first burn. Jim Carse, Manager of UT’s Landscape Services, has also led the Half-Pint project since its planning stages in 2018.
Matt O'Toole and Jim Carse Half-Pint Prairie prescribed fire
Of course, the City of Austin was on board, too.
City of Austin fire department prescribed fire Half-Pint Prairie UT Austin Central Texas Gardener
The entire process took about 10 minutes.
prescribed fire Jack Rouse Matt O'Toole Half-Pint Prairie Central Texas Gardener
Prescribed fires contribute to biodiversity and robust growth of native species.
Prescribed burn gradual Half-Pint Prairie UT Austin Central Texas Gardener
“From an ecological perspective, we wanted to burn after the warm-season grasses like little bluestem, Indiangrass, and sideoats grama had gone dormant. Burning then has the smallest impact on the diversity of the prairie. In the spring when the soil warms up, everything will wake up and there will be a race upwards. We’re planning on seeding some new flowers like American basketflower, milkweeds, and goldenrods in the meantime. So the prairie should be back better than ever,” Jack said.
Half-Pint Prairie prescribed fire at end Central Texas Gardener
As 2020 comes to end, sometimes we just want to mow down the past several months. But be assured, just like Half-Pint Prairie, we will regenerate and start anew.
bumblebee on sunflower Half Pint Prairie UT Central Texas Gardener
Watch CTG’s visit in 2019 to learn why students chose to seed ecological lessons for the future.
Campus Environmental Center Half Pint Prairie students Central Texas Gardener
Watch the burn now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time, Linda