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Fire risk in Central Texas remains high despite rain

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:39 PM CST
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LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas (KWTX) -Fire officials are warning people that it’s not the time to relax on fire safety.

Across Central Texas, a stream of grass and brush fires have been popping up.

Even as rain droplets drip from the smoldered trees that burned in a brush fire in Lacy Lakeview, officials say it’s not enough to diminish drought conditions.

“Grass is classified as a one hour fuel so it takes one hour to get it saturated and thoroughly wet where it won’t catch fire, but then the sun hits it and the wind hits it then it is thoroughly dry again in an hour so it rained this morning and today there is a fire danger,” Lt. Adrian Huff with the Lacy Lakeview Fire Department said.

It was the dry, windy conditions paired with tall, dead grass that had the Lacy Lakeview fire department up against the flames for hours and burned more than 14 acres of land.

“With the tall grass, it may be wet down here a dirt level but above it is still dry and can still spread and catch fire really quickly,” Fire Chief Patty Faulkner said.

So even if we do see moisture, officials say grass fires are the biggest concern during the winter.

“When people think about wildfires, they don’t normally think about winter time,” Kiley Moran, Texas A&M Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator, said.

“It’s normally associated with hot dry conditions but really the winter fire season can be just as bad.”

You can help by doing your part.

“One of the things that people can do is they can mow,” Chief Faulkner said.

“Mowing is a huge thing. We were really lucky. We were able to save eight houses back here and we were really lucky because those yards have been mowed.”

Chief Faulkner says to store wood away from your house, keep bushes and trees trimmed, and clear away dead limbs and leaves from your property that can serve as fuel to a fire.

Mills, Hamilton, Bosque, Lampasas, Coryell, and McLennan counties all have portions experiencing extreme drought with many Central Texas counties under a burn ban.

For more information about fire prevention, Texas A&M Forest Service has tips about how to prepare your home and how to prevent fires.

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