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Forest Service Warns of Increased Wildfire Danger as Cold Front Approaches

After recent cold weather, herbaceous fuels across the state are considered freeze-cured. These dormant, warm-season grasses that are not actively growing, visually brown and have less moisture, are the catalyst for the dormant fire season. Image courtesy of Texas A&M Forest Service.

Texas A&M Forest Service warns of increased wildfire danger this week as a cold front approaches Thursday.

Elevated fire weather following the front, combined with dry, dormant grasses could support increased wildfire potential for communities near San Antonio and Austin. Today, the fire environment could support wildfire activity in west Texas.

However, the threat for large, significant fires will remain low for these areas.

“Dry, dormant grasses will be exposed to elevated or critical fire weather and well-above-normal temperatures ahead of an approaching cold front,” said Luke Kanclerz, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Analyst.

“The risk of significant fires that are highly resistant to control is expected to be limited due to the lack of critically dry fuel and less grass observed across the West Texas landscape,” he said.

Last year, grass production was limited during the growing season as a result of the drought and from livestock grazing. Below normal grass production may limit wildfire growth and aid firefighters in keeping wildfires small.

Since Jan. 1, 2023, state and local firefighters have responded to 27 wildfires burning 97 acres across the state.

Texas A&M Forest Service encourages the public to avoid outdoor activities that may cause a spark while dry and windy conditions are present.

The Forest Service asks the public to exercise caution when engaging in any outdoor activity that might create a spark, and to avoid parking and idling vehicles on tall, dry grass. Low chains should not be allowed to drag on roadways and create sparks. Anyone welding or grinding near dry grass is asked to use a spotter to watch for sparks.

The U.S. National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio yesterday reported  2022 was the driest year on record for Bexar County, with Bandera, Comal and Kendall all in the top five.


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