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Drought and Wildfires

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Drought and Wildfires

Drought and wildfires seem to go hand in hand across Texas. Over the years, wildfires have claimed millions of acres across the Lone Star State.

Not all wildfires are the same. As a matter of fact, the weather largely dictates fire behavior, controlling how quickly a fire spreads, how hot and how long the flames grow, and whether the fire is able to jump a road or other barrier. Temperature, humidity, and wind are the controlling parameters that affect fire behavior.

In some cases National Weather Service forecasters are tasked with forecasting weather conditions near an on going wildfire. These forecasts help firefighters develop a strategy to fight the fire both efficiently and safely. A sudden wind shift can put fire fighters in great danger. This type of forecasting has its own name...a fire weather forecast. A local wildfire forecast is commonly called a spot forecast, due to the small area of interest.

The Texas Interagency Coordination Center (TICC) shows fire maps, national preparedness levels and 30-day precipitation deficit maps. The site has a map of Texas burn bans.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service keep a National Fire Weather Page, which lists Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches for the whole country.

Also see maps depicting the present drought and seasonal forecasts at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

For general weather information for Central Texas, go to the National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio Web site.

The Austin Fire Department provides an array of safety tips.  The Round Rock Fire Department provides fire prevention tips.



 
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