East Texas counties reaching severe drought levels

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Drought conditions are now covering most of the state of Texas, with an increase in severe conditions in northeast Texas from previous weeks.

“The state as a whole, and northeast Texas in particular, is experiencing drought, varying levels, all the way to the most significant form of drought,” said Sean Dugan with the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Most counties in Northeast Texas are under a burn ban due to the increased drought conditions. Dugan said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration comes out with a report on this topic once a week.

“If you’re looking at this map, you can see the whole state is under drought conditions, with the exception of the El Paso area,” he said. “There’re five different levels of drought, zero to four. Regarding Northeast Texas, you can see there’s drought that exists in all of that area.”

Dugan said they are mindful of the conditions and keep an eye on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the precipitation needed to return soil back to a non-drought state.

“The KBDI is a measurement of the demand that is being put on the landscape, so East Texas is more red because there’s more demand being put on it. There’re more trees, more vegetation and whatnot,” Dugan said.

Last week he said they had crews going out to fires everyday, if not multiple times a day.

“Anything that can cause a spark — just be very mindful and careful with it. If you’re welding, make sure there’s no debris around that can light,” Dugan said. “If you’re grilling, extinguish the charcoal before you go inside. If you need to stop and make a phone call, park on the asphalt, don’t park in a field.”

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