Severe summer wildfire season could be in store

Wildfires are increasing across the state as drought intensifies in some areas and accelerated drying of native grasses and forage occurs in others.

Typical summer drying has accelerated this year, according to Brad Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services department head. Rainfall predictions for the next month-and-a-half indicate the situation is likely to continue.

Translation? A severe summer wildfire season could impact the Lone Star State.

“The dryness we are currently seeing across portions of the state is generally what we would be experiencing in mid- to late-July,” Smith said. “The drought that will carry over from the spring into the summer and the emerging drought that is developing in June have initiated an early start to the summer fire season. Early summer drying in June also introduces the possibility of experiencing a severe late-summer fire season.”

In June, Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments have responded to 90 wildfires that burned a total of 21,692 acres. Smith noted many of the recent wildfires can be attributed to equipment use, welding, debris burning and roadside ignitions.

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