Central Texas regions affected by continued drying trend

Weather

(Courtesy: Texas A&M Forest Service)

McGREGOR, Texas – The Texas A&M Forest Service says the Central Texas region has experienced higher temperatures, low relative humidity and little to no rain – leading to dry conditions ripe for wildfire ignitions and rapidly growing wildfires.

As a result, Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments are seeing an increase in the number of human-caused wildfires. The main areas of concern are the Waco, Killeen, Temple and Lampasas regions.

Recent wildfires are attributed to equipment use, welding, debris burning and roadside starts. With the region’s current drying conditions, an unattended spark can quickly turn into a wildfire.

Residents are encouraged to follow these recommendations to help prevent wildfires:

Safe Equipment Use:

  • Grinders, welders, mowers, shredders, balers and other heavy equipment all produce heat and can start a wildfire.
  • Exercise caution when using equipment on hot, dry and windy days.
  • Keep the machinery free of debris build-up and in good repair. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case a fire starts.
  • Residents should avoid driving in tall, dry grass where the hot catalytic converter can start wildfires–catalytic converters operate between 550-1600° F and can reach 2000° F if the engine is not running properly.

 Safe Debris Burning:

  • Before burning, check with officials to make sure your county is not under a burn ban.
  • Choose a day to burn with winds under 10 mph and high relative humidity for your area.
  • Keep the debris pile small and only add more material as it burns down. Clear the area around the pile down to mineral soil.
  • Always stay with your fire and have equipment on hand in case it gets out of the designated area.

Residents are also encouraged to follow all local burn regulations. In Texas, county burn bans restrict outdoor burning for public safety and are determined by county judges and county commissioners. When considering a burn ban, county judges and county commissioners analyze wildfire danger ratings and current wildfire ignition data provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Texas county burn ban information is reported to Texas A&M Forest Service and can be found at http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TexasBurnBans/.

For more information about wildfire prevention and safety tips, please visit the Wildfire Education and Prevention and Texas A&M Forest Service Facebook pages.

Source: Texas A&M Forest Service

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