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Extreme heat, drought, and high winds have firefighters worried

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 23:24:06-04

BELL COUNTY, TX — Extreme heat, drought, and high winds are sweeping across Central Texas. These are conditions that haven’t been seen in over a decade.

”We’re definitely well above average with our 100-degree temperatures,” said Matt Hines, 25 News Chief Meteorologist. “We usually average 20 in a summer and we’re already well into the 30s.”

Not only are we experiencing dangerously high temperatures, high winds now have us under a red flag warning.

”The Weather Service puts out those red flag notices whenever the winds are going to be higher than usual or higher than expected,” said Santos Soto, public information officer for Temple Fire and Rescue. “It just gives that potential for those wildland fires and those grass fires to accelerate pretty fast on someone.”

That’s why 25 News Chief Meteorologist Matt Hines is urging people to follow burn bans.

”We’re in a tinder box here,” said Hines. “So, regardless if we’re in a red flag warning or not it’s really not a good idea to be burning outside as anything can go pretty fast, even on lighter wind days.”

Fighting wildfires isn’t as easy as someone may think. In these extreme conditions, a wildfire can spread rapidly and it takes a smaller truck capable of going offroad to even reach one.

But here’s the thing, they only hold a few hundred gallons of water and that doesn’t last very long.

Now firefighters are urging the community to pay extra attention when doing things outside.

”If they’re outside working with any type of power equipment, any welders, cutting torches, anything that can create those sparks,” said Soto. “Then when you go outside and you’re cooking, be mindful of where your coals are”

This heat is going to be here for a while and the potential for devastating wildfires is staying with it.

”I am forecasting a very slight chance of an isolated thunderstorm on Thursday but as far as bug break from this heat, it could be weeks before we see that,” said Matt Hines.