The National Drought Monitor shows that most of Texas is at the highest intensity level registered for drought. State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has said this is one of the worst droughts Texas has seen since 1895, when the state first began keeping records.
The drought has devastated land and forestry this year and aided in creating conditions that are ripe for wildfires. Since fire season began Nov. 15, 2010, almost 13,000 fires have burned 3.3 million acres in Texas.
Typically Texas sees more wildfires in July than June, according to Texas Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer. With a hot, dry summer forecast across the state, the number of wildfires isn’t likely to decrease.
“We expect fire activity to continue,” Spencer said. “These are dangerous conditions.”
Burning trash, gathering around a campfire, tossing out a lit cigarette and even driving a hot car through tall grass all can lead to an increase in wildfires when combined with vegetation that has been dried out by the summer sun.
With 90 percent of wildfires caused by humans, Texas Forest Service continues to urge Texans to use caution when doing anything outdoors that could cause a spark.