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Increased Wildfire Danger in Parts of Texas

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East, Southeast, and Central Texas are currently at an elevated risk for wildfire danger. | Image by Texas A&M Forest Service Facebook

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East, Southeast, and Central Texas are currently at an elevated risk for wildfire danger, according to a warning from the Texas A&M Forest Service, due to dry conditions, little rainfall, and lower humidity.

“Yesterday, Texas A&M Forest Service responded to 13 wildfires for 198 acres burned across the state,” the Forest Service announced on Thursday. “A week of accelerated drying is forecast with very dry air over the eastern half of the state behind a cold front that moved through Southeast Texas this morning. With poor overnight recoveries and daily relative humidity values under 25%, widespread critically to extremely dry surface fuels will expand across the eastern half of the state.”

In the recent week, firefighters with the Forest Service responded to 65 fires, KFDM reported. Active wildfires, as of September 29, are the Par Fire in Young County and Angelina 5388 Fire in Angelina County. Par Fire has burned 70 acres and is 85% contained, and Angelina 5388 Fire is 80% contained after burning 15 acres.

Recently contained wildfires, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, include the Mesquite Blossom Fire in Hays County, Bartley Fire in Fannin County, Leon 5387 Fire in Leon County, and Haybale Fire in Hunt County.

The Mesquite Blossom Fire burned 39.6 acres, the Bartley Fire burned 26.9 acres, the Leon 5387 Fire burned 17 acres, and the Haybale Fire burned 15.8 acres.

Firefighters in the state have responded to nearly 10,000 wildfires in 2022, according to Wes Moorehead, the Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief.

“The 2022 fire season has been significant for the state of Texas, as state and local firefighters have responded to more than 9,800 wildfires,” Moorehead told KFDM. “The state received beneficial rainfall mid- to late-August, which helped to significantly slow the operational tempo for wildland firefighters. However, the benefits of that moisture have started to wane, and we are, once again, observing dry conditions across the state that is resulting in increased wildfire activity.”

In nine out of 10 cases in the state, wildfires are caused by human activity, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service Prevention Program Coordinator Karen Stafford.

Stafford told KFDM that Texans should be cautious when burning outdoors, even if there is no active burn ban.

“It is important that all residents take care to prevent wildfires while conditions are windy and dry. Consider waiting to conduct any outdoor burning or lighting campfires until conditions improve. Even if your county does not have a burn ban in place, we encourage everyone to be cautious with any activity that may cause a spark,” Stafford said.

As of September 29, the Forest Service reported active burn bans in 95 Texas counties.

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