Texas A&M Forest Service explains potential wildfires in East Texas

Texas A&M Forest Service explains potential wildfires in East Texas

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Looking at how dry the soil around East Texas is, it's hard to believe just a few months ago, the region was underwater.

"We had a very strong high pressure system come into the state this July," said Craig Olson, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Fire Coordinator. "It just evaporated all of the moisture out of the soil very quickly."

 "After the ground was saturated, it just ran off," said Jan Amen, TFS Fire Prevention Specialist. "So we look at the moisture in the ground when we look at the fire danger and the ground is really, really dry, down to 8 inches."

Although the fire danger levels are set at moderate right now, the Forest Service said they are on the cusp of raising the level to high and that the current weather could continue to increase the danger.

"If we don't get rain, this is only going to go south from here," amen said. "We don't want another 2011 fire season and if we don't get some rain, that's where we're headed."

A few counties have already declared burn bans and more are expected to declare as more fires begin ignite throughout East Texas. 

"Our fire activity has increased significantly over the past week or so and, I'm sorry to say, that it's due to human causes," Amen said.

Amen said anything from an unattended outdoor fire, to simply dragging chains along concrete can ignite a spark. With it being so dry, any spark and cause a huge fire.

However, starting a fire is preventable and Amen offers advice to those who aren't in counties that have declared a burn ban.

 "Don't burn. That's my advice," Amen said. "Why risk it? We can always wait a month or so and take care of that burn pile later. You can chip it up, you can take it to the landfill, just wait."

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.