TEMPLE, TX (FOX 44) – The extreme heat we’ve been experiencing this summer is affecting the final resting place of our loved ones.
It has caused the earth to dry out moving headstones, and cemetery groundskeepers are having to make adjustments to keep everything in order.
“The dryness of the ground, especially here out at the cemetery, has increased graves settlings, headstones shifts, and a lot of our trees are drying out and dying,” said Keilah Reyes, Parks and Public Grounds Superintendent for the City of Killeen.
Reyes says it’s to the point where groundskeepers have to fill large cracks with sand loam to keep visitors from tripping.
“A person walking, trips, can easily fall and hurt themselves severely on a headstone,” said Reyes. “So our staff is very conscious of that, and they’re constantly driving and walking the property to make sure that it’s a safe place for people to come visit.”
The extreme heat has led to groundskeepers cutting back on lawn mowing, seeing little growth.
Hillcrest Cemetery has different procedures in order to follow burn ban guidelines in Temple.
“Per the fire chief, only irrigated areas are to be mowed at this time, said Alex Gibbs, public relations specialist for the City of Temple. “If other areas of the cemetery get to the point of needing to be mowed, we will have a fire truck on site in case the spark were to happen.”
Ground shrinking also causes pipe problems which in turn is affecting the sprinkler system.
For active irrigation systems, cemeteries in Waco, Temple, and Killeen are following water restriction guidelines and doing what they can like waking up early to get work done.
“We’re starting a lot earlier, sometimes five, six a.m., just to get our most strenuous tasks out of the way before the heat really starts cranking up,” said Reyes.
For anyone visiting their loved ones representatives from both Killeen and Temple recommend you bring water, shade, and to come early.