Texas Forest Service; record 247 counties in burn bans

POSTED: Monday, July 18, 2011 - 4:33pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- As the temperatures rise so do the record numbers.

There are now 247 counties in burn bans, far surpassing the previous record of 221 counties recorded in 2006.

Mary Kay Hicks, of the Texas Forest service, said the record numbers are unheard of.

"It's unprecedented. We've not had anything like this ever in the state of Texas," said Hicks.

The ground is extremely vulnerable to fires right now.  It's so dry even water doesn't always fix the problem.

"The volunteers will squirt the flames out, and turn around and go to the other end to squirt some more fire out, and that fire comes right back up," said Hicks.

All this activity is not only wearing out the ground it's also taking a toll on service members.

"Usually our fire season is, you know, July, August, September, and we've been in it since February. Our guys are tired, you know the heat's getting to them. We're seeing accidents more because of it," said Hicks.

In a severe drought, the smallest things can ignite a fire, including things like a broken piece of glass, because when the sun hits it, it acts like a magnifying glass, which could potentially ignite a wildfire.

Hicks said this drought is triple the severity of any other drought she's experienced in her 20 years with the forest service.

And the state has had to seek assistance from all over the country.

"All of the 50 you know, states in the untied states have come in and standby to help us with firefighting."

It's also taking an emotional toll 500 homes have been lost this year due to fires.


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