With the Texas heat out in full force and the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, fire danger is very real.
Chris Brooks, Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue coordinator, said the department has received some calls on fires but they are slow moving with the amount of moisture still in the ground and air.
“We’re still pretty good right now. The moisture in the grass is still pretty high, so a fire can easily catch but it doesn’t rage out of control,” Brooks said. “And with the humidity being higher, that may be what keeps the fires slow.”
Brooks added that he does not see a burn ban being implemented in the near future.
“Currently there are only 37 counties in Texas under a burn ban and they’re all out west,” he said. “From Central Texas to East Texas there are no burn bans.”
Brooks still urges people to be smart when burning or doing any kind of fireworks, like sparklers, during the Fourth of July holiday.
“Just take precautions, have some kind of plan whether it be having an extinguisher or water hose nearby just in case,” he said.
Erath County is currently in the 200-300 range of the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which means the soil is slightly drying out but is still wet enough to keep concerns at bay.
“Fuels are beginning to dry and contribute to wildfire intensity,” the KBD Index states about the 200-300 range. “Heavier fuels will still not readily ignite and burn. This is often seen in late spring.”
The KBD Index starts at zero and goes all the way up to 800, which is a dangerous number.
“Presently, this (KBD) index is derived from ground-based estimates of temperature and NEXRAD radar of precipitation derived from weather stations and interpolated manually by experts at Texas A&M Forest Service,” the Texas A&M Forest Service site reads.
If humidity percentages start to drop over the summer, there could potentially be some fire problems.
“Wildfires do not need to be tens of thousands of acres to threaten your community,” the A&M website reads. “A wildfire of 100 acres or less can be just as destructive as a large wildfire. The Steiner Ranch Fire (2011) was only 125 acres, but destroyed 20 homes in Travis County.”