CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — People who live on or near Padre Island may have seen a big plume of smoke over the island today, and it will probably be there for several more days.
It's coming from Padre Island National Seashore, where a controlled burn is being monitored.
Depending on the weather, crews will burn about 15,000 acres of land over the next few days. Experts say it's to restore vegetation, but also helps control fires that may break out in the future.
The controlled burn will target overgrown land on the Padre Island National Seashore. Experts have been brought in from around the country to set fire to the overgrown vegetation. Getting rid of the brush eliminates potential fuel in case a fire breaks out that isn't planned.
The burn also encourages vegetation to grow back, which is important for wildlife that lives in the seashore area.
Meanwhile everyone is keeping an eye on the wind because a shift in direction could send a lot of smoke into populated areas.
"It's always breezy here, so you're just really curious or kind of nervous about how far it will really spread," said Jeff Jablonski, a Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) visitor.
"If you're downwind, you smell the smoke, you breathe the smoke," said Bonnie Manger, another PINS visitor. "So if you have lung issues, you definitely don't want to be down there."
While the burn is underway, Padre Island National Seashore will remain open. However, people with respiratory issues should avoid visiting the park.