Residents of La Marque and Hitchcock as well as motorists along state Highway 6 and Interstate 45 will likely notice large plumes of smoke coming from the University of Houston’s Coastal Center today. The fire will be deliberately set and is part of a training exercise.
The Fire Weather Research Laboratory of the San Jose State University’s Department of Meteorology and Climate Science in California and the Texas Forest Service will ignite a prescribed burn to help measure the atmospheric affects that happen during a wildland fire on a tallgrass prairie.
The data collected from the Fire Flux II experiment will be used to better understand the knowledge of the behavior of wildland fires, according to a news release from San Jose State University.
Galveston County Emergency Management Coordinator David Popoff said he was concerned drivers would be distracted when they see flames and smoke coming from the coastal center, which is along FM 2004 between state Highway 6 and I-45 in La Marque near Jack Brooks Park.
The fire should be ignited between noon and 2 p.m. as more than 155 acres of grass are burned.
Winds are expected to be northwest by north. A helicopter flying overhead will record the experiment, officials said.
The La Marque and Texas City Fire Departments will assist in the experiment as well as Popoff’s office. The Houston/Galveston Office of the National Weather Service, U.S. Forest Service, University of Utah, University of Corsica, University of Houston, University of Houston Coastal Center, NASA and Helicopter Services will take part as well.