Friday, October 15, 2010

Parched Soils Lead to More Burn Bans, Drought Conditions

I've said it once and I'll say it again. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing when it comes to weather often times.
Our stretch of beautiful weather is making for very dry conditions and is leading to an increased fire risk across all of East Texas.

This map is an updated graphic showing every single county in East Texas currently under a burn ban.

In our KTRE viewing area, the only counties that are not currently under burn bans are Anderson, Cherokee, and Nacogdoches counties. Everyone else has one enacted, meaning outdoor burning where you live is prohibited.

The Texas Forest Service has come out and said that several fires have been ongoing this past month, many of them intentionally set. More than 1500 acres across the Piney Woods have already been burned, including damage to five homes.

The recent dry conditions have led to a "Stage 1 Moderate Drought" for parts of East Texas. This is the first level of a drought and is indicated by the shading of brown in the image to your left. Notice how this area is now encompassing parts of Nacogdoches county and most of Angelina county.

We also have a "Stage 2 Severe Drought" indicated by the orange shading. This includes eastern portions of Shelby, Sabine, and Newton counties.

You'll notice that the farther east you go, the worse the drought becomes. Needless to say, if you live in Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Jasper, and Newton counties, you will want to be especially careful about doing any activity or gesture that would have the potential to lead to a brush or wildfire.

The combination of low humidity and very dry soils means it won't take much for a small brush fire to get out of control.

Make sure you check our weather page daily for any changes to the burn ban list.

In looking into my crystal ball, it appears we might see some showers and storms by the middle of next week. However, it won't be the widespread, soaking rains that we really need to help alleviate the drought conditions.