Funds may be available for landowners who help prevent Southern Pine Beetle by thinning their forests

State News

UPDATE: Sept. 4, 2019 11:52 a.m.

$543,478 in grant funds available for prescribed burning

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Some Texas landowners may be eligible for funding to help with prescribed burning costs on private lands. 

Now through September 30, 2019, Texas A&M Forest Service is accepting grant applications to reimburse landowners for the costs of having a prescribed burn conducted on their property by certified and insured prescribed burn mangers. Last year the programs were utilized for over 13,500 acres of treatments.

“Though wildfires are still occurring in areas of Texas this month, it is also time for landowners and land managers to begin planning prescribed fire operations for a time when weather conditions moderate,” said Andy McCrady, Texas A&M Forest Service Fuels Coordinator.

Prescribed fire is an effective and controlled method of reducing wildfire risk by eliminating brush, weeds, dried vegetation and downed trees. Benefits from prescribed fire include wildlife habitat improvement, seed and plant regeneration, reduction of invasive plants and restoration of soil nutrients.

“This year, a new, interactive map is available online for landowners to navigate to their property and research their eligibility,” said McCrady. “The application process is entirely online this year as well, and allows landowners to work directly with the professional burn contractor of their choice to complete the application, burn plan and map requirements.”

A total of $289,989.88 of Community Protection Program-Prescribed Fire Grant funding is available for property owners within 10 miles of a National Forest in East Texas.

A total of $115,920.00 in National Fire Plan-Prescribed Fire Grants is available to 41 eligible counties with a city- or county-wide Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

A total of $87,568.31 is available through the Neches River and Cypress Basin Watershed Restoration Program-Prescribed Fire Grant for prescribed burning in priority East Texas watersheds. Treatments will help improve water supply and quality, control invasive species and enhance wildlife habitat by restoring ecosystem function.

This year, up to $50,000 is available through the Texas Longleaf Conservation Assistance Program-Prescribed Fire Grant for burn treatments on private land in East Texas to enhance longleaf pine ecosystems.

“Texas A&M Forest Service will not be conducting these prescribed burns. Grant recipients will select a certified and insured prescribed burn manager to reimburse costs from $15 to $30 per acre, depending on program eligibility.”

The application deadline is Friday, September 30, 2019Please apply online at

Learn more by visiting the Prescribed Burning Board (

COLLEGE STATION (KFDX/KJTL) — Eligible forest landowners can receive financial and technical assistance by helping reduce the threat of Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) infestations and outbreaks.

Landowners in 21 East Texas counties conducting first-thin operations in overly dense, pulpwood-sized pine stands may now apply for the 2019 Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program Thinning Cost Share.

This funding opportunity is available thanks to a cost-share grant through the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection Program and administered by Texas A&M Forest Service.

“Our goal through this program is to reduce the potential for SPB attacks on our forests while simultaneously increasing tree growth and vigor,” said Shane Harrington, Texas A&M Forest Service Program Leader. “This program has a history of successfully assisting forest landowners reduce their potential for hosting SPB attacks as well as increasing overall forest health and resiliency — which is what sound forest management is about.”

Since the inception of the SPB Prevention Program, over 100,000 acres have been treated throughout East Texas.

Eligible landowners may receive up to $50 per acre (100-acre maximum) to assist in conducting first-thin operations. The forested property must meet several criteria and be located within one of the 21 priority counties which include: Angelina, Cass, Cherokee, Hardin, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby,Trinity, Tyler and Walker. Additionally, all approved thinning projects must be completed within 12 months of the approval date.

Interested landowners can visit to download an application and view program criteria and requirements or contact their local TFS office at

All applications are due by November 15, 2019.

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