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Answers to Some Burning Questions

Posted: March 3rd, 2023

The City of Bee Cave will be working with Lake Travis Fire Rescue for a significant period to burn and chip the massive amount of brush the city collected from neighborhoods because of winter storm Mara. As this is highly dependent on daily weather conditions, this will be a fluid process and, therefore, impossible to estimate the exact time frame it will take. Please read the FAQs we have prepared to understand what to expect. The controlled burn locations are marked on the map provided; please do not call 9-1-1 when you see smoke and/or fire in these areas as this is a regulated controlled burn and we don’t want to overburden the emergency dispatch system.

How much brush is there?

The City of Bee Cave contracted out 9 trucks to pick up more than 115 thousand cubic yards of brush from all neighborhoods within city limits over the course of three weeks. The trucks deposited the brush at designated sites within the city for safe burning and mulching. The sites are marked on the map.

Why is the city burning the brush?

Due to the vast amount of brush collected, the City of Bee Cave has determined that burning as much of the brush as possible is the most cost effective and quickest way to dispose of it. The brush poses a fire hazard the drier it gets. Also, the longer it sits there, the more likely animals will use it for habitats which would further complicate the process of disposal. Burning the brush allows us to take care of it quickly to avoid these dangers.

Will the city also be chipping the brush?

While we do not have the capacity to chip all the brush, our contracted crews will be chipping brush at sites on days that they are unable to burn due to weather conditions.

Mulch is beneficial for gardens and yards. Isn’t that a better option?

While mulch does provide benefits to landscaping, the resulting ash from a controlled burn also has benefits. Pyrogenic organic matter like charcoal and ash are excellent carbon sinks, and they contain nutrients necessary for soil health. These fire remnants enrich plant life and help it thrive in subsequent seasons. Once the burning is complete, city leaders will consider if there are options for residents to use some of the ash for their own yards.

What precautions are being taken to burn this much brush?

The City of Bee Cave has received approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to burn the brush in a safe and regulated manner. Lake Travis Fire Rescue will be on site during the controlled burn, and it will only be conducted during daylight hours. To burn brush, the wind must be more than 6 mph and less than 25 mph per state regulations. Whether to conduct a controlled burn will be decided daily.

How will this affect the air quality?

The regulations on wind speed help ensure the smoke disperses rather than settling during a burn. While we cannot ensure there won’t be an effect on air quality during the controlled burn, officials will be carefully monitoring the situation and making decisions based on their findings throughout the process. There is a lot of brush.

How long will it take?

Depending on the weather conditions, burning through the brush we have collected could take a significant amount of time–weeks, if not months. We do not expect there will be a burn every day due to changing weather conditions.

I still have a lot of brush in my yard. Can I burn it myself?

Depending on whether there is a burn ban for that day, you can apply for a permit to conduct a controlled burn through Lake Travis Fire Rescue.

Can I bring my excess brush to the city’s burn sites?

No. Any additional brush in your yard that was not put out when the trucks came through will need to be personally disposed of by the landowner.



Brush Burn Site