Little rain, high humidity, warm temperatures and whipping winds had local volunteer firefighters on high alert Wednesday.
Crews from volunteer fire departments across the county were on scene at two separate fires Tuesday, and with the increased risk Wednesday and Thursday, Erath County Fire Coordinator Chris Brooks said crews are ready to go at a moment's notice.
"The Texas Forest Service website has a predictive service that we watch closely," Brooks said. "We take their recommendations for the area into consideration when implementing a burn ban like the county has now. Despite the possible inconvenience, it's all about safety for the county's residents."
Preparations, Brooks said, include reading the county's brush trucks and staying in communication with other volunteer fire departments as well as the city fire departments. In dry conditions like these, he said grass can catch fire easily and spread quickly, even more so with the aid of winds.
"We had a couple of runs on Tuesday, just small grassfires," Brooks said Wednesday afternoon. "Nothing so far today, either. But we are recommending residents exercise extreme caution in these dangerous conditions."
The burn ban is expected to be in place for the rest of the month.
"The biggest rule we stress is the use of common sense," Brooks said. "If it seems like a bad plan, it probably is. Don't burn unless the ban is lifted and even then, be smart about it. Be aware of your surroundings, and if you see a fire try to get the closest county road or an intersection to identify your location when calling the fire department."
He said another important factor when dealing with fire is to always call the fire department.
"Don't wait," Brooks concluded. "With these high winds and the dry conditions we are dealing with at the moment, every single second counts."