East Texas drought sparks concern of potential wildfires

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Many are ready for a slight relief from the heat as we enter fall on Wednesday. With the dry weather conditions we have been having, there is some concern about a drought and the dangers that come with it. 

“We went from a wet August, which is very unusual and just in general, a very wet summer to completely dry in the month of September where we’ve only picked up less than three-quarters of an inch of rain here for Tyler, Longview, and Lufkin,” said Chief Meteorologist Marcus Bagwell. 

Any drought, even for a short period, increases the chances of wildfire. 

“A big drop like that plus all the sunshine we’ve seen has allowed for the moisture in the soil to evaporate, and that’s what’s going to lead to some drought-like conditions here perhaps in the next coming weeks or so if we don’t get more rain,” said Bagwell.

Dry weather can become dangerous for people needing to burn items. 

Kevin May, Longview Police Officer, said “We have been seeing some fires, have had several coming in on the roadside most likely caused from someone throwing a cigarette out the window or a chain being dragged on a trailer. All of those things right now we have concerns with.”

Since strong winds like Wednesday’s can often carry fire and cause it to get out of control, our storm team recommends that if you need to burn something, to not do it on a windy day. 

“You definitely want to do it on a lighter wind day when the wind won’t be as strong, which typically on a light wind day is going to be in the middle of the afternoon,” said Bagwell.

In case of a fire, always call your local fire department. Also, no matter the weather conditions, it is always illegal to burn inside the Longview city limits. 

“We would like for them to immediately call 911 no matter what the circumstances, call 911 get the fire department on the way. If the fire is small, and you can get the hose and put it out, but we don’t ever want someone to put themselves in jeopardy by trying to put a fire out because they think they are going to get in trouble,” said May.

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