Fire Marshal says burn ban or not, East Texas is ripe for wildfire

Fire Marshal says burn ban or not, East Texas is ripe for wildfire

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Several East Texas counties have issued burn bans because of dry conditions in the area. Although Smith and Gregg counties have not, fire officials warn to be vigilant if you're burning anything outside.

We spoke with an East Texas Fire Marshal about the situation.

According to the Western Regional Climate Center, East Texas is under a moderate to severe drought. Longview Fire Marshal Kevin May says low humidity and the wind we've been having lately make things ripe for wild fires.

"Wind conditions get right, you get that one cigarette somebody throws out the window, or you get that truck dragging a chain down the road and we're going to start having more fires like we did a few months ago," Mays said.

And according to NOAA, we're experiencing a La Nina. Long story short, our area, and the rest of the southern U.S. is predicted be drier than normal through February.

"The lack of rain is what we're concerned with right now. The lack of rain, the winds picking up and then we just have the fires that take off," May stated.

It doesn't take long for a spark to become a blaze. But May says there are things you can do to protect your property.

'Keep your leaves raked up. Keep you grass short. Try to water when you can to keep the top of it as wet as possible. It's still going to be dry on the bottom side of it. Try to keep the top of it wet. Keep your trash picked up. Don't let stuff pile up against your house," May advised.

He says it's particularly important to reduce potential fuel in the city limits.

"You get the houses that are closer together so if you do get that fire that starts then we run the risk of it spreading to the structures," May said.

He says we need to do everything we can to prevent wildfire.

"We do not want another 2011. We had two people that lost their lives, and then thousands and thousands acres we lost. It was just really bad," May added.

He says if you burn, make sure it's completely out, and that it's always illegal to burn in the city limits.

It takes the county commissioner's court with the recommendation of the county fire marshal to declare a burn ban.

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