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Rain offering relief for firefighters battling Texas wildfires

Fire conditions have improved so much that the Harris County Fire Marshall hopes to lift the burn ban Tuesday.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — With rain in the forecast nearly all week, firefighters are crossing their fingers for more relief from the extreme fire danger Texas has faced all summer.

"Ask and you shall receive, everybody's been praying for rain," said Rachel Davila, a spokesperson for the Texas Forestry Service.

Those prayers were answered. After a dangerously hot and dry summer, Texas is getting wet and more rain is on the way.

"It's really helping the drought conditions in the state right now," said Davila.

It's great news for the Texas A&M Forest Service. Statewide, parts of Texas could see anywhere from an inch to 12+inches of rain over the next seven days.

"Before this rain came in, they were really busy, multiple boots on the ground," said Davila.

A month ago on July 18, the Forest Service had responded to 24 new wildfires that had burned 8,000 acres and destroyed many homes. Flash forward to August 19 and firefighters only responded to five wildfires that charred 27 acres.

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"We are starting to see that decrease but we don't want people to be complacent," said Davila. "We can have fires started by lightning strikes."

Here in Harris County, the rain is making its mark too.

"This rain is making us very happy because we're not going to see these outdoor fires," said Harris County Fire Marshall Laurie Christensen.

Drought conditions have been dangerous. Since July 1 when the county burn ban went into effect, the Fire Marshall's Office received reports of 753 outdoor fires. That's nearly 200 more than were reported in all of last year.

RELATED: LIST: Burn bans across Greater Houston area

Now conditions have improved so much that the Harris County Fire Marshall's office plans to lift the county burn ban on Tuesday. With rain in the forecast all of next week, it could not come at a better time.

"That saturation is going to help us tremendously, although no one wants to be stuck in a flood we're grateful we're getting this rain right now," said Christensen.

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