Increased Wildfire Risk This Weekend

Texas Forest Service officials warn Friday is a high-risk day for wildfires. The warning is for nearly the entire state as a cold front pushes dryer air and strong winds into Texas.

Critical fire conditions are in the forecast for tomorrow.

Justin Musgraves is a regional fire coordinator with the Texas Forest Service. He says the conditions are ripe for more dangerous fires and the risk isn't limited to certain areas.

"Unfortunately, it's the entire state. That cold front's pushing down from the north right now. This evening and tomorrow morning we'll see maybe I-20 and north kind of in the bullseye. But as the day progresses that bullseye is going to move further south and eventually the entire state will be not only cooler, which is great for firemen, but also drier, which is awful for fire."

Strong winds could make any fires that spark even more dangerous, because a fire that might normally be contained in one area could potentially spread much faster.  

Musgraves says they've alerted first responders across Texas to be prepared. And he says citizens need to do their part.

"We want people to be mindful of what they're doing. You know 90 percent or more of fires in Texas are caused by humans, in one way or another. So we want to do everything we can to prevent those sparks from happening, be it cigarette butts tossed from your car or your car maintenance. Things like flat tires and tire blowouts can cause fires."

Since last November, firefighters have responded to nearly 24,000 wildfires across the state. Traditionally the fall and winter months have a higher risk of wildfires in Texas.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...