Texas Still in Severe Drought

As the two year anniversary of the wildfire that devastated Bastrop State Park approaches — officials warn that a persistent drought continues to leave Texas vulnerable.

Most of Texas is in some stage of drought right now. The Houston region is in severe drought with the exception of Brazoria County, which has it even worse with extreme drought conditions.

State Climatologist John Neilsen-Gammon says at least half the state has been in drought since 2011.

"By mid-Fall, if the drought continues, this will be essentially the second worst drought on record going back to the 19th century, with only the 1950s drought being worse than that."

Neilsen-Gammon says there's a risk for a large number of wildfires across the state right now. But he says under current conditions, any fires that pop up should be relatively easy to contain.

"This is also the period of time that typically has the lightest winds. So fires don't tend to spread very rapidly and they're relatively easy to contain because of that. The one exception we had to that back in 2011, we had the Bastrop fire. That came at the time of a hurricane making landfall in Louisiana, so the winds were up and that was a major problem."

One good thing that's come out of the drought, according to Neilsen-Gammon, is that people are getting more used to the dry conditions and making an effort to conserve water and power.

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...