Grass fires are still burning in both Texas and Oklahoma. At least five people are dead and nearly 20,000 acres of land and dozens of buildings have been burned. In East Texas, firefighters have also been busy putting out grass fires, and the next few days could be especially dangerous.
The Nacogdoches Fire Department has been responding to a lot of grass fires. Those calls slowed down on Thursday, but the next few days could once again be busy. Firefighters would like East Texans to avoid burning when conditions are so dry.
Lt. Joseph Ramirez, an EMT with the Nacogdoches Fire Department, said, "They think it is going to happen to someone else, but it just doesn't take very long for something to get out of hand, especially with the wind conditions like they are now."
The ground is extremely dry. This area usually gets about 42.3 inches of rain each year. This year's total is 31.7 inches, about 10 inches below normal.
First, dry and windy weather. Now, add fireworks. As East Texans ring in the new year, the potential for fires increases.
Cody Best, EMT and firefighter, said, "Sparks can carry real far. You might be on concrete, but it can catch in the woods and start a fire, with the wind blowing bad."
Remember, you can't burn in the city limits, and even if you live in an area not under a burn ban, it is best to avoid burning until the weather changes.
Lt. Ramirez said, "Be safe. The leaves don't have to be burned. It's okay. Just wait for better conditions to burn."
John Jopling, a firefighter, said, "There's been a lot of people being killed. The main thing is to be safe and try to keep it under control."