SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — Officials are saying if we get some rain in East Texas, it could take up to a year to recover from this extreme drought.

“We are in severe conditions with the temperatures getting into triple digits and all the gusts of wind we’re getting along with it have made conditions way worse than what they should be,” said Travis Johnson, Smith County EDS 2 firefighter.

Extreme drought means East Texas has received substantially less rainfall. We’ve seen more burn bans and mandatory water rations taking effect. This all makes a huge impact on vegetation, livestock and even air quality. 

“Obviously, it will greatly impact burn bans or how long those burn bans will be in effect for that particular area. It could also possibly affect rainfall insurance for some of our agricultural producers,” said Vanessa Corriher-Olson, a professor at Texas A&M AgriLife. 

It can affect agricultural production like hay and pasture production and forage growth for livestock. For land and homeowners, drought can impact horticultural growth like desirable trees and plants.

On Wednesday, close to 32 acres have burned in both Smith and Henderson counties. To protect your property, it is recommended to water when allowed.

“Try to water any home vegetation to their best ability. But, they should still expect some impact from exceptional/ severe drought conditions. They may lose some trees or vegetation may die,” said Corriher-Olson.

“From a drought standpoint, it’s D1 to D4. It’s moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional. Van Zandt, Henderson, and extreme northwestern Anderson county are under a level 4, D4 drought exceptional. Parts of Smith county I believe are under severe drought and off to the west as well,” said Chief Meteorologist Carson Vickroy.

Officials are saying it could take up to a year to recover, but what we can do on our part is listen to officials.

“Heed their warnings and don’t burn because there are burn bans across East Texas counties. If there are water restrictions, do your best to conserve and hopefully, we can get a little bit of rain,” said Vickroy.