The Texas Panhandle may be headed for an ecological disaster.
As The Texas Observer reports, the Llano Estacado could be undone by conservation efforts put in place to save the region from the Dust Bowl. At issue is the Texas Panhandle’s natural predilection for encouraging wildfires.
In the years following the Dust Bowl, the U.S. Department of Agriculture grew concerned about soil erosion on the plains. As a result, the agency contracted with landowners to ensure that some farm and ranch land would return to its natural state. This land generally falls under what’s known as the Conservation Reserve Program, and it’s usually known as CRP land.
The concern is, this uncultivated land can sometimes turn into a tinderbox of mesquite and juniper, a sure recipe for wildfires. Panhandle firefighters warn that, unless CRP land is carefully mowed and tended, the Panhandle may have an inferno in its future.