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An Area Red Flag Warning

A red flag warning is issued for many area counties.
Dry grass and dead trees are widespread across the high plains, but officials say they can be fuel for wildfires.

Lance Goehring from the National Weather Service says, "for weather service status, or weather service officially, we  call 300 acres a wildfire, 300 acres or more.  We put it into what we call our storm data data base."

A red flag warning, or a fire weather warning was in effect until 6:00 pm on January 12 in several counties in our area, including Randall and Potter. 

This means winds were high and humidity was low.

Goehring says there's no way to predict whether or not it will be a busy year for wildfires, but there are ways to prevent them.

He says, "keep any cigarettes inside your vehicle.  Don't throw them out.  Driving your vehicle in grasses you don't want to do that.  Hot engines from the vehicle could light the grasses on fire as well, and also just think about any fires you may have outside your home, camping or anything like that."

But exactly what causes these fires?

"There's a lot of different factors that go in to it. The amount of wind that happens, whether we get rain this spring perhaps.  Like back in 2006 we were very dry even in May when we normally get a lot of rain," says Goerhring.

In the 2006 wildfires he's referring to, there were 55 mph winds,11 people were killed and 10,000 head of cattle were found dead.

It spread for days across 850,000 acres of the Texas Panhandle.

According to the Environment News Service, the 2006 wildfires are described as the largest wildfires in Texas history.

Amarillo didn't see any wildfires in 2013.

This was because there was no grass to burn because of the drought.

In fact, the last wildfire in our are was in December of 2012.

Goehring says wildfires are not common.

He says the states in the southwest are most likely to get wildfires because they are the most dry.
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