CENTRAL TEXAS – Right now the entire Central Texas area is under a moderate fire danger risk.
Currently 98 Texas counties are under a burn ban – including the McLennan, Freestone, and Lampasas Counties.
Even though only three counties in our area are under a ban, firefighters expect other counties will soon follow if rain stays out of the forecast.
90 percent of all wildfires in Texas are caused by people, which is why firefighters say it’s so important for those under a burn ban to follow the restrictions.
“Residents in that county need to contact the County Fire Marshal’s Office or the County Judge’s Office to find out what exactly what is allowed or not allowed during that burn ban inaction,” says Thomas Pechal, of the Temple Fire Department.
Officials think if the weather pattern stays hot and sunny like it is, then other Central Texas counties may soon be under bans.
“Just because we get some rain does not mean that we are out of the danger. All of the vegetation that is currently drying out is still going to be there. So until that vegetation is no more, it is still going to be a concern,” Pechal says.
The largest number of wildfires are caused by debris burning. People should avoid burning trash, leaves, and brush during dry times.
Another danger is machinery firing up on dry grass.
“You have someone using a mower or a shredder and it hits a rock, that creates a spark,” Pechal says.
Summer can also be a trying time for firefighters who battle extremely hot fires on already sweltering days.
“We’re constantly rehydrating. We’re making sure that firefighters are drinking lots of water and making sure that we’re checking on each other,” Pechal says.