Colder weather doesn't mean fire danger goes away

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The drop in temperatures is a sigh of relief from summer record high heat. However, officials caution this weather doesn't mean East Texas is free from fire danger.

"Conditions right now are still just as dry as they have been," said Bobby Cranford, the assistant chief at Fuller Springs VFD.

Many counties received rain early this week, but not enough to reverse drought effects.

Cities in Angelina County saw merely tenths of an inch of rain early Tuesday morning.

"With the moisture, you really need to have a lot of rain together to make a difference," said Mark Clere, a fire behavior analyst.

High winds and a little precipitation have kept the ground pretty dry, allowing severe fire danger to keep its hold across East Texas.

"In the last two or three days, the wind's been gusting up to 35 miles per hour, so that didn't help us out any," said Ricky Conner, the Angelina County emergency management coordinator.

Cranford says although Angelina County has extended their 90-day burn ban, he's noticing a lack of concern.

"I believe just a lot of people are just getting complacent that they don't realize there's still a burn ban," he said.

Cranford says extinguishing a wildfire can be costly not just due to property damages but also for fire departments whose funding is already stretched thin.

"It uses up a lot of money that fire departments don't have," Cranford said.

Authorities caution burning of any sort. Even lighting the fireplace for warmth.

"A nice warming fire, sitting around, especially if you're camping out there, that'd be fantastic," Clere said. "But, you're just risking too much to have anything of that nature."

Clere says although rain and temperatures have dropped, high winds and low humidity provide the perfect ingredients to cause a massive wildfire.

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