FLOWER MOUND - A group of residents responsible for the upkeep and security of a historic mound in Flower Mound say they’re happy it burned on New Year’s Eve. The mound, known for its abundant wildflowers, gave the town its name.
The scorched earth of the mound may be a sad sight to some people. But it's joyful relief to members of The Mound Foundation. Their purpose is to keep the original character of the mound.
For years, they've asked town leaders for a permit to burn the brush.
"Even an accidental burn is good for the plants," said Alton Bowman, a Mound Foundation board member. "Prairies are a fire-dependent species."
For the last 18 years, Bob Woods has been coming to the mound to admire its flowers and view.
"I believe this place probably did need a controlled burn, because we haven't had great flowers here for two or three years," Woods said.
But town leaders and fire officials feared a controlled burn would endanger the adjacent neighborhood and create liability issues.
“It’s not without risk," Bowman said. "You can never be 100 percent sure. But in a controlled situation, you're burning when the humidity is right and the wind is right."
Firefighters say a fast-moving grass fire burned the mound on New Year's Eve. They blame fireworks. It did what the foundation couldn't.
The fire burned about 40 percent of the mound area. Mound Foundation officials say they wish the fire would've burned more.
“If you don't periodically remove this thatch, you're leaving yourself open for an accidental burn, where you're not going to be able to control those factors," Bowman said.
Historians believe the flower mound got its name 170 years ago from an unusual amount of wild flowers.
For the caretakers, the looming issue is the next fire.
"If you control the risk, you're in a better situation than to leaving it to happenstance," Bowman said.