Risk of wildfires increase in Central Texas

Brush fire at 21 and Southshore Road area in Bastrop County. (Courtesy: Bastrop County OEM)
Brush fire at 21 and Southshore Road area in Bastrop County on Jan. 29, 2016. (Courtesy: Bastrop County OEM)

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two brush fires in Bastrop County Friday are a sign of how quickly vegetation can dry up in Central Texas.

The first fire happened around noon at State Highway 21 and Southshore Road. Fire crews were able to put out the fire fairly quickly but spent another hour mopping up the fire. Less than two hours later, another small brush fire broke out at Mark Young Road, near Smithville.

The KXAN First Warning Weather Team says only .34 inch of rain has fallen in Austin in January—1.75 inches below normal. As a result, fire weather conditions will continue to worsen until the next significant rainfall. In fact, the National Weather Service is forecasting Critical Fire Weather conditions next Tuesday when a windy cold front blows through.

Breezy, dry weather on Saturday may also contribute to additional brush fire development, so any outdoor burning should be done with caution. Mason County is currently the only county in the KXAN viewing area with an outdoor burn ban. The Texas A&M Forest Service on Friday warned about the possibility of fires amid warmer temperatures, moderate winds and low relative humidity in the areas of Abilene, San Angelo, Midland and Lubbock.

Wildfire safety information can be found in the First Warning Weather Severe Weather Guide.


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