Texas Wildfires Likely to Continue: Drought Map of the U.S. Shows Why

If you live almost anywhere in Texas, it will come as no surprise to you that we’re in the midst of the worst drought in memory, and it seems it’s even worse than we thought. It seems Texas started keeping records in 1895, and this has been one of the worst droughts on record.

Wildfire season normally begins here in July, but this year has been different, with fires starting much earlier in the year and covering more territory than usual. Even East Texas, which is normally less likely to experience wildfires, has experienced the largest fires in history, and there is no rain-relief in sight.

Here’s a drought map from the USDA. If there is any shred of comfort in this, it’s in knowing that Texas is not alone. Just look at New Mexico, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Louisiana. They’re suffering through exceptional drought conditions as well. Click on the map to get to the source. From there, you may click on any state to get the detailed picture.

Here’s the latest on the drought from the Texas Forest Service. When it comes to fireworks this Fourth of July, please just say “no.” Remember that 90% of all wildfires are caused by humans.

June 30, 2011 – COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A whopping 97 percent of the Lone Star State is in the midst of a drought, with almost three-quarters facing exceptionally bad conditions, according to a national report released Thursday.

The National Drought Monitor shows that most of Texas is at the highest intensity level registered for drought. State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has said this is one of the worst droughts Texas has seen since 1895, when the state first began keeping records.

The drought has devastated land and forestry this year and aided in creating conditions that are ripe for wildfires. Since fire season began Nov. 15, 2010, almost 13,000 fires have burned 3.3 million acres in Texas.

Typically Texas sees more wildfires in July than June, according to Texas Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer. With a hot, dry summer forecast across the state, the number of wildfires isn’t likely to decrease.

“We expect fire activity to continue,” Spencer said. “These are dangerous conditions.”

Burning trash, gathering around a campfire, tossing out a lit cigarette and even driving a hot car through tall grass all can lead to an increase in wildfires when combined with vegetation that has been dried out by the summer sun.

With 90 percent of wildfires caused by humans, Texas Forest Service continues to urge Texans to use caution when doing anything outdoors that could cause a spark.


Tom Spencer, Predictive Services Department Head
979-458-7331, tspencer@tfs.tamu.edu


About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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