UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
MCLENNAN COUNTY -- The Texas Forest Service has increased the number of counties with burn bans to 236. That number beats the previous record of counties with a burn ban set in 2006.
Now, most of Central Texas counties have already banned fireworks, but officials want to are warning people to take even more precautions this holiday weekend.
Fox 44 spoke with local camper Larry Wright while he prepared for the holiday weekend. Today he had water ready and fire extinguishers in place.
"One of the things I've done is I have a fire extinguisher and attached it here [to the grill] so it would be handy."
Wright's fire pit, normally burning by this point, is now filled with sticks and debris since parks are starting to ban campfires.
"It's really disappointing for some people," says Wright.
Mary Kay Hicks with the Forest Service surveyed the cracked ground, indicating the horrible conditions.
She is warning people to take the drought seriously.
"It's not a normal dry for the Fourth of July. You can't do what you normally do on the Fourth of July and barbeque and not take extra precautions this year," says Hicks.
Counties have already banned fireworks and now open fire grilling isn't allowed. Charcoal is. allowed, but the Forest Service says that's still a threat.They are warning campers to douse your charcoal with water when they're finished grilling to prevent a fire.
However, it's not just the woods the Forest Service is trying to protect.
"Most of our fires are within two miles of an urban area. So when you look at those statistics, two miles when they are traveling fast, you're talking about a couple hours away if the wind is in the right direction," explains Hicks.
Despite the conditions, campers tell Fox 44 they won't let the drought get in their way this Independence Day.
"We're having a family get together here, and we're going to be boiling shrimp on this grill."