SAN SABA, Texas – Firefighters from across the state are battling the still-growing, human-caused Mays Fire in San Saba and McCulloch Counties.

The fire ignited on August 1 – approximately 16 miles east of Brady, Texas – as the result of an individual parking and idling their vehicle over tall, dry grass.

The fire has currently burned an estimated 9,500 acres, and is only 50 percent contained at this time. The San Saba Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy, Game Warden, County Fire Departments and surrounding agencies have been assisting.

Over the past several days, significant wildfire activity has increased statewide, particularly in central portions of the state, where rainfall has been minimal. Accelerated drying of vegetation has elevated the potential for new wildfire starts. State and local resources have responded to 55 fires, which have burned 11,607 acres. Many of the recent wildfire starts have been attributed to humans and their activities—such as debris burning—and are preventable.

Grass wildfires can spread and grow extremely fast. One of the main causes of grass fires is driving and parking over tall, dry grass. Dry grass will ignite at 500 degrees within seconds of contacting a hot surface, and the exhaust and catalytic converter on vehicles can reach temperatures of 1200–1600 degrees or more, igniting the grass underneath.

To prevent wildfires when operating a vehicle, follow these tips:

  • Avoid parking or driving in grass when possible
  • Stay on designated roads and trails
  • Park on asphalt when parking on the side of the road
  • Make sure chains are secure and not dragging

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

For more information, you can view our previous story here.

Sources: San Saba Sheriff’s Office, Texas A&M Forest Service