Dry, windy weather conditions increase East Texas fire danger

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Its called an 'escaped fire'. Like the one this weekend in Nacogdoches where a car fire covered an acre before fire fighters had it contained. It's a fire that gets out of control, and it's usually because of weather conditions.

"Right now we are almost critically dry," said Karen Stafford, TX Forest Service.

The Texas Forest Service combats, prevents, and educates the community about wildfires across the state. They are on alert for fires, like the one this weekend, that can ignite at any moment.

"Over this weekend we had over 15 fires across the central and South East Texas," said Stafford.

Someone else monitoring conditions on the weather-side is KTRE's Chief Meteorologist Brad Hlozek. He's watching the area's drought status, "It should be noted that no one is under a drought yet. We're under what we call an abnormally dry category."

It's the category right before drought stage.

"If we go another two weeks without substantial rain showers then our next category up will be a moderate drought," said Hlozek.

We may not officially be in a drought, but it's dry and it's definitely windy which is a recipe for controlled burns becoming uncontrolled quickly.

Only one county in East Texas has enacted a burn ban, but if these conditions persist more counties could be following suit.

Tyler County's ban just went into effect Monday morning.  If a big rain-maker doesn't come our way soon they won't be the only one.

"Just be on watch if counties do start burn bans just be mindful of that," said Stafford.

The smartest way to prevent uncontrolled fires is not waiting for a burn ban to stop burning.

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