Wildfires by the numbers, safety tips, drought data

Wildfires by the numbers, safety tips, drought data

Bearing fire near Trinity, Polk counties


by KHOU.com staff

Texas Forest Service

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 22 at 6:14 PM

  • Texas Forest Service is currently responding to 17 large fires that have burned 145,633 acres.
  • Since fire season started on Nov. 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 12,362 fires that have burned 3,080,013 acres. These figures are updated every Monday and Friday.
  • 227 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.
  • Click here to track the wildfires.

Houston-area wildfires:

Grimes County: Dyer Mill fire; 5,300 acres still burning; 75 percent contained by Wednesday night thanks to heavy rainfall during the day; Many evacuees allowed to return home; 2 injured; at least 30 homes and 20 out buildings were destroyed by this fast-moving fire three miles east of Whitehall.  

Walker County: Midway fire; 2,412 acres; 90 percent contained. The fire is burning north of Huntsville. One hundred sixty-three homes were evacuated near Midway. The fire is burning on both sides of Interstate 45 with crowning in the timber. No homes or other structures have burned. Eight Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) engines responded last night from the Houston area to assist. I-45 was closed Sunday afternoon because of the fire but reopened by the evening.  Residents evacuated along FM 2029 were allowed to return home Tuesday afternoon.

Polk and Trinity counties: Bearing fire; 20,222 acres; 60 percent contained; The fire is burning near Carmona. Two homes and six cabins were destroyed and dozens have been evacuated.

Jasper County: Power Line fire; 2,500 acres; 25 percent contained; The fire is burning just south of Lake Sam Rayburn Dam. Five hundred homes are threatened.

Jasper County: Cowboy fire; 322 acres; contained; The fire is a rekindle from a fire earlier in the month. It is burning in pine plantation.

Katy:  ContainedMore than 315 acres burned after several grass fires erupted around the area Tuesday afternoon.  By Wednesday morning, officials said the fire had been completely extinguished.

Fireworks safety tips:

Texas Forest Service does not make decisions regarding fireworks restrictions or outdoor burn bans. The state agency does, however, provide drought information to county government officials. Under state law, each county is tasked with making its own decisions regarding fireworks restrictions and burn bans.

Follow all county and city laws regarding fireworks use.

Only use fireworks outdoors and away from dry grass and buildings.

Read the labels and use only as directed, with adult supervision.

Keep water, wet towels, and a garden hose nearby.

Allow fireworks to cool completely before handling, and discard used fireworks into a bucket of water.

Wildfire Prevention Tips:

Firewise is a resource for residents to protect their home and property from wildfire.

Adjust the safety chains on your trailers to ensure they don’t drag and create sparks that can cause roadside starts.

Never leave a campfire unattended. Always have tools available to put out a fire.

Remove flammable materials from around your home.

Develop an evacuation plan for your family. Resources are available on the Firewise website and at texasfirestorm.org.

Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.

Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark.

To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850. If possible, safely obtain an accurate description of the person and/or vehicle (including the license number) before calling the hotline.

Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires. Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.

Drought information:

Since the first of the year there are only five counties in Texas (Bowie, Red River, Lamar, Fannin, Grayson) that are not below normal rainfall.

Over the last 60 days, around 70 percent of the state has rainfall deficits running 50 percent or less of normal rainfall.

Over the last 30 days, around 90 percent of the state has rainfall deficits running 50 percent or less of normal rainfall.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a mathematical system for relating current and recent weather conditions to potential or expected fire behavior. A drought index number ranging from 0 to 800 that describes the amount of moisture that is missing. A rating of 0 defines the point where there is no moisture deficiency and 800 is the maximum drought possible. Check your county’s KBDI rating by clicking on the drought tab on the Predictive Services page of the Texas Interagency Coordinating Center website.