Conditions that have allowed wildland grass fires to plague firefighters across the state over the last two months were a little more evident in Hopkins County over the past three days.
Local fire departments reported one grass fire Friday, and eight grass fires and wildland fires over the rest of the weekend, including a 17-acre grass fire on County Road 4706. Most of the grass fires occurred in the central portion of the county — two on State Highway 11 west, and one each on FM 1567 west and County Roads 4802, 4706, 4789 and 2301.
The threat across the state has been bad enough that officials in 201 Texas counties have issued burn bans, prohibiting all types of outdoor burning, and the governor is urging people to take necessary steps to guard against wildfires.
Among those counties with outdoor fire bans in place Monday were Lamar, Red River, Hunt, Delta Fannin and Rains.
Leaders in Hopkins, Wood and Franklin counties have not opted to enact burn bans. The threat of fire danger in these areas remained moderate through Monday, according to Texas Forest Service’s fire danger map.
The National Wildfire Coordinating Group defines moderate fire danger as having conditions in which “fires can start from most causes ... Fires in open cured grasslands will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Timber fires spread slow to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent. Fires are not likely to become serious and control is relatively easy.”
Since Jan. 1, 2009, some 3,685 wildfires have burned 118,061 acres of land across the state. These fires have threatened 1,763 homes; firefighters have saved 1,630 homes, and 57 homes were lost.
The most significant damage occurred over the weekend in Bastrop County. These damages include about 25 homes destroyed and 1,000 acres burned. The fire is burning in heavy terrain, hampering firefighting efforts, according to the governor’s office, following the announcement that state resources were activated Monday to combat wildfires in Central Texas.
“Wildfires burning in Central Texas have destroyed homes and property over the weekend, but fortunately there have been no reports of lives lost,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a press release. “The state is assisting in battling this threat and will continue to provide necessary resources to protect our communities. I urge all Texans to use extreme care in outdoor activities, to be aware of burn bans in their counties, and to take precautions to protect their homes and property.”
In Central Texas, Gov. Rick Perry has activated state resources, including four Texas Military Forces Blackhawk helicopters equipped to drop water and fire retardant, Texas Forest Service fire fighters and contract aircraft and heavy equipment, to help fight wildfires increased over the weekend due to high winds and low humidity.
State agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Forest Service and Texas Military Forces, are responding to fires across the state.
Local and volunteer fire departments in the most heavily impacted areas are providing vital firefighting personnel and resources to combat these wildfires. Volunteer organizations are also providing assistance and support for residents as needed.
Last week the governor renewed the state disaster proclamation for counties threatened by wildfire conditions. He also sent a letter to the president requesting direct federal assistance to fund statewide efforts to combat the wildfire threat.
VIEW the governor’s disaster proclamation at:
READ Gov. Perry's letter to President Barack Obama at:
For theTexas burn ban map:
For current information about fire danger and conditions, visit:
Texas Interagency Coordination Center
and click on predictive services
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