Officials say wildfires to increase if rain doesn't come soon

Officials say wildfires to increase if rain doesn't come soon
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - In the past seven days, wildfires like those in Bastrop, Walker, and Polk Counties have sparked across Texas. There have been close to 300 wildfires in a week according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

East Texas' weather situation is a far cry from the rains that drenched all of Texas this past Spring. The men and women on the ground who've been responding to blazes all month said if rain doesn't come soon, the fires have the potential to increase.

It seems the sun has let up allowing for more of a "fall feeling."

"It's a little bit breezy. It's warm," said Jan Amen, a Fire prevention specialist.

"It is cooler right now," said Bobby Cranford,  the president of the Angelina County Firefighter's Association.

As projected, the Texas A&M Forest Service and volunteer fire departments have been busy battling blazes.

"Right now, any fire gets out of hand in a hurry," Cranford said.

"They're all over the state really," Amen said.

There were 268 over the past week spreading over 12,000 acres of Texas.

"If it weren't for the burn ban, we would have a lot of problems right now," Cranford said.

Sixteen new fires sparked Monda,y and five large wildfires are smoldering at this very minute. Officials said a concern is cooler weather giving some people a false sense of, "It's okay to burn."

"They'll think 'Okay, I can let my guard down now,' and that's just not the case," Amen said.

"Some people just can't stand it, and they're going to burn anyway," Cranford said.

Amen said even if we do receive a few inches of rain, she wouldn't recommend anyone burning anything any time soon.

Though the Forest Service said heat, dry fuels, and windy conditions are what added fuel to the fires, East Texas teamwork is what's putting them out.

"All the departments are working together really well. They get a fire everyone is ready to get in and help," Cranford said.

"We have in Texas a really good system of team work," Amen said. "I can't say what's going to happen, but if we don't get rain, this is only going to get worse."

"Hopefully it will come," Cranford said.

The 600-acre wildfire on the north side of Walker County is now contained. Two homes and 14 structures are a total loss.

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