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Central Texas droughts increase fuel for wildfires

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 23:10:44-04

BELL COUNTY, TX — Central Texas has seen lower than normal rainfall for the year creating drought conditions across much of the western counties.

According to the National Weather Service, Central Texas is 6 to 12 inches below normal for rainfall.

Now drought conditions are leaving plant growth to die and become fuel for wildfires.

”If we get the right weather conditions, that is low humidity and high winds, those fuels are really receptive to fire and that is what will carry the fire through the landscape,” said Kiley Moran, Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service.

It’s conditions like this that has Fire Department worried even though there is rain in the forecast

”We've had just enough rain to get this vegetation to green up and die again," said Cpt. David Nobles, Central Bell County Fire and Rescue. "So, now we’ve got 3 to 4 more inches of vegetation that’s dead, lying on top of the ground. So, no matter where you go in the Bell County area, we are definitely worried about brush fires and wildfires.”

Experts are urging landowners to take steps to prevent their properties from catching on fire.

”Keep your bushes trimmed back, mow your yard to where it’s low, and get all the flammable material away from your house. Such as firewood,” said Moran.

They also said now might not be the best time for a controlled burn.

”Understand that, just because we get a little bit of rain, it may not be the best time to go burn your burn pile even though your county may not be under a burn ban,” said Moran.

If you do choose to light up the burn pile, it is important to be careful.

”If you do burn, have a water source available and be near it. Don’t leave your fire until it’s burnt down and out,” said Cpt. Nobels.

The message is simple, make sure your property is well maintained, and don’t leave a burn pile unattended.