Foresters putting out campfires in E. Texas national forests

Terry Sympson
Terry Sympson

BROADDUS, TX (KTRE) - Foresters are snuffing out campfires, hoping to prevent this kind of wildfire on federal lands.

"I think the risks are far too great and when you look at the news and see what's going on in places like Arizona, but more recently some of the fires we've had right at our doorstep," said Terry Sympson, executive director of Jackson Hill Park & Marina.

Like the 20,000-acre Bearing fire in Trinity and Polk County.  And the massive wildfires in Jasper County.

The U.S. Forest Service says recent showers aren't enough to pull the Pineywoods out of a drought.

Open campfires, charcoal fires, gas and propane grills, stoves, lanterns, and fireworks are banned anywhere in the Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston national forests.

"You just have to use some common sense and realize if this catches on fire, it's going to be very, very difficult to put out and it's going to cause a lot of damage," Sympson said.

Sympson runs the marina on Lake Sam Rayburn in Broaddus.

It's surrounded by national forest.

"Who would want to know that they accidentally started a fire that could cause so much damage," Sympson said.

The low lake levels out here on Lake Sam Rayburn are a pretty good indication of the drought condition East Texas is in and although it may not be convenient, Sympson says he realizes it is necessary.

"We tell everyone as they come in and we have a sign that's posted that there's a burn ban and we try to let everyone know," Sympson said.

This Independence Day, East Texans will have to sacrifice open flames to keep national land free from wildfire.

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