The tragedy in California, where massive forest fires continue to burn, is raising awareness in East Texas. The Texas Forest Service just increased the drought outlook for East Texas over the next two weeks. A small fire in Rusk County today emphasized the growing concerns. Five acres were destroyed when the smoldering remains of a burning pile of brush reignited due to strong winds. The Texas Forest Service was called in with a bulldozer to help Kilgore firefighters establish a perimeter, and contain the fire. With an extended forecast of dry and windy conditions, the Forest Service says, situations like this are only expected to get worse.
"I've been on several fires this last week," said Steve Smith of theTexas Forest Service. "They've all fortunately been small, and nobody's been hurt, but it's getting to the point now, where the capacity of fuel that's out there is there, and these windy days and dry conditions, someone could lose a home or a life. It could get bad in a hurry."
Smith says take extra precautions with burning brush piles. Don't burn during high wind conditions, and never leave the fire unattended. When extinguishing the fire, make sure it is completely out. It is expected to be several weeks before relief from this situation arrives.