December 18, 2013 —COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Significant rain this
year could be a potential threat during the winter wildfire season. Residents
are urged to take precautions as the cold weather begins drying the increased
Rains earlier this year helped suppress wildfire
threats by improving moisture levels across majority of the state. However, this led to a rise in grassy areas,
which can help spread fires if it becomes too dry.
Potential for fire is especially relevant in the western
plains regions of the state. Including the grass dominated areas west of a
Wichita Falls to Abilene to San Angelo line. Strong persistent winds over this
area could increase the chance of wildfires spreading.
“The concern is on dry and windy days,” said Tom
Spencer, predictive services department head at Texas A&M Forest Service. “A fire could start and spread quickly in
these dry grasses, damaging anything in its path.” Care is highly
recommended throughout the winter months and activities that could accidentally
start a fire should be limited.
Several safety tips are advised for all Texans this
- Check for and obey burn bans and fireworks
- When and where outdoor burning is allowed, keep the
fire small, never leave it unattended and remove leaves and other
materials from the area surrounding the fire. Avoid lighting piles on
- Keep water nearby in case a fire starts. A spark or
burning ember can ignite dry, fine-textured fuels like grass and weeds.
- Read and follow label instructions on how to properly
- Use fireworks with close adult supervision and only in
areas clear of dry vegetation.
- Avoid using fireworks, particularly aerial varieties,
around buildings. Wind can carry hot fireworks onto roofs where leaves or
other flammable debris may have accumulated.
- Remove your natural Christmas tree soon after the
holidays and consider community tree recycling projects. Christmas trees
can be ground up for mulch or provide shelter for birds and other
- Dispose of wrapping paper, boxes and other holiday
waste by recycling, when practical. Burn paper and cardboard in a burn
barrel or other fire-proof receptacle topped by a metal screen or grill,
as winds can carry embers over long distances.
For more information about daily fire weather
forecasts and an updated fire danger map visit the Texas
Interagency Coordination Center web page.
Jan Amen, Fire Prevention Specialist
(936) 546-1004, firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas A&M Forest Service offices are closed Dec. 23- Jan. 1. Reporters
seeking assistance should e-mail email@example.com, and the on-call communications
specialist will respond.