Drought conditions on the rise in East Texas

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Drought experts are fearing the worse this year. Several East Texas communities have as much as a seven inch deficit in yearly rainfall totals.

Experts say a much higher potential for fire danger exist when you consider high winds in the area.

The summer of 2011 was the summer of the wildfire in East Texas and many residents can still remember the effects of the Bearing Fire in Trinity County.

Experts are fearing a repeat this summer.

"The summer grasses have not grown when it's cold, said Jackie Risner, GM of the Pineywoods Groundwater Conservation District. "Now that we are [the grass] is not growing because it is dry."

Recent data supports that claim, with severe drought conditions starting to spread across the state and almost all of East Texas is already experiencing dry conditions.

Experts say as the days get hotter, the chance for fires will only increase.

"We have seen an increase in fire activity and it doesn't surprise us at all because of the lack of rain and high winds," said Jan Amen with the Texas A&M Forest service.

What worries experts the most is the fact that there is already fuel waiting to be ignited.

"I don't know what the long term prediction is for this drought," Amen said. "I know it is continuing. We do have dead tress from the last drought and of course any dead fuel is a fire danger."

Experts also say you shouldn't be fooled by the greenery and bright flowers, because in a day they can vanish which is why now is the time to prepare.

"You need to keep your grass mowed short and watered," Amen said. "If you do burn, check to make sure there isn't a burn ban in place, but don't ever burn on a windy day."`

As of this week, officials have been put on notice with weekly state wide conference calls. They are

Drought conditions are always changing. The USDA provides an updated drought map here.

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