Solar Farm Brush Burning Causing Headaches for Buffalo Heights Residents


SAN ANGELO – Residents of the Buffalo Heights Subdivision west of San Angelo near the San Angelo State Park have been inundated by smoke from brush piles the new Solar Farm is burning near their property and have approached Tom Green County Pct. 3 Commissioner Rick Bacon about the issue.  

Commissioner Bacon on Tuesday released the following information: 

Residents and landowners in Buffalo Heights, KNA subdivisions, and others in the FM 2288 area, please be advised that Kiewit’s solar installation has hired a TDA licensed Commercial Burn Manager to oversee the safe execution of the continued burning of the woody debris being cleared for the solar installation on this private property. Many policy changes come with the addition of the Commercial Burn Manager, with increased buffering applied to any burn proximity to houses and where no burn days will occur unless the forecast is for wind directions which do not disturb your neighborhoods. We are sorry for any inconvenience or nuisance the smoke has caused previously and we are confident that working with NOAA, we can evacuate the smoke more safely. Fire is a Natural process and the optimum choice for removing biomass naturally. Conservation Fire Team (512) 332-6375, [email protected].

The Tom Green County Commissioner's Court enacted a burn ban two weeks ago.  

Commissioner Bacon also shared the following: 

Please let me clarify some things regarding the Solar Farm and the County. 

The County does not have any authority over the construction of the solar farm. An individual Commissioner does not have the authority to allow or not allow burning during a burn ban. We issue the order and the Sherriff has to enforce it. Please call the Sherriff Office Dispatch for violations of the burn ban.

I have tried to convince the Solar Farm contractors to be good neighbors and mulch as much as possible. However, if the proper paper work is filed they will be allowed to burn during a burn ban. Regardless of whether a burn ban is in effect there are certain guidelines (wind direction and speed) they are required to follow when burning. TCEQ was on-site three times last week and did not issue any citations.

The State legislature is very clear on County involvement with private property owners and that is stay out of their business. We can voice concerns for you but as long as the solar farm contractors are in compliance with state statutes there is nothing we can do. 

Below is the contact information APEX gave me late last Friday for addressing any concerns. Please contact them directly.

People may get in touch with our APEX team to ensure their concerns receive follow-up by filling out a form on our website or using the contact information below:


Email: [email protected]

Phone: (325) 420-1858


Rick Bacon

Commissioner, Pct. 3

Cell: 325 234-4261

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