Texas A&M Forest Service encourages caution as wildfire danger increases statewide

 

Last updated 8/1/2023 at 4:56pm

As persistent triple-digit temperatures and dry conditions increase wildfire danger for much of the state, Texas A&M Forest Service urges Texans to be cautious with outdoor activities that create sparks.

Through Friday, high temperatures and increased wind speeds will support the potential for large wildfires that may be resistant to firefighters’ suppression efforts.

Areas at risk include North, Central and South Texas, the southern region of East Texas, areas in the Rolling Plains near Wichita Falls and Abilene and areas in the Hill Country near San Angelo, Fredericksburg and San Antonio.

The risk for wildfire activity will remain elevated through the first week of August, as very hot and dry conditions are likely to continue.

“With the recent uptick in wildfire activity, Texas A&M Forest Service has mobilized additional personnel and equipment to assist with response,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “State and local firefighters are prepared to respond quickly but we need Texans to be careful and prevent wildfire ignitions while conditions remain hot and dry.”

In Texas, nine out of 10 wildfires are human-caused and preventable. The most common causes of wildfires during the summer months are debris burning and equipment use, which includes parking in dry grass and dragging trailer chains.

“Every year, Texans eagerly await the summer months when they can enjoy their favorite outdoor activities like camping, boating or grilling,” said Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Prevention Program Coordinator. “Unfortunately, these activities can also spark an unintended wildfire. It is important that everyone consider their surroundings and remember that simple preventative measures can keep a wildfire from igniting.”

Throughout the summer months:

• Always check with local officials for burn bans and other outdoor burning restrictions. Pay attention to local guidelines regarding open fires, campfires and outdoor activities that may pose a fire hazard. For burn ban information, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TexasBurnBans/.

• Park in designated spaces and avoid driving over and/or parking on dry grass. The heat from a vehicle can easily ignite the grass.

• When using a cooking fire or campfire, never leave it unattended. Always make sure it is completely out by drowning it with water, stirring it and feeling to ensure it is out cold before leaving.

• When pulling a trailer, ensure the chains are properly connected and do not drag on the road as this can create sparks.

• If you witness suspicious behavior or signs of arson, immediately call the local authorities.

Stay wildfire aware. If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.

For more information about summer wildfire prevention, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/summerwildfires/.

For information on the current wildfire situation in Texas, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/CurrentSituation/.

 

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