Lake Meredith officials warn of increased wildfire risk

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials at Lake Meredith are issuing a warning after the wet spring and summer we had this year.

All the rain we saw means more vegetation, and that, in turn, means more fuel for wildfires.

Lake Meredith Recreation Area Superintendent Eric Smith says over the last 10 years, 95% of the wildfires they’ve responded to in the area have been caused by man.

He says this means that 95% are preventable.

In the summer months, visitors at Lake Meredith are all at the lake itself, but during the winter months, most visitors come to either hunt or camp further away from the lake, where the heavy brush is.

Smith says they are working with other local agencies to prevent fires. This includes prescribed burns, mowing, and brush removal.

But he says the biggest preventative measure they’re taking is getting the word out.

Smith says to always be aware of your surroundings when you’re camping.

“Not throwing cigarettes out of a window, if you have a campfire, don’t leave the campfire without being able to put your hands on it and feel that it’s cool. If you’re pulling off on the side of the road and you’re leaving your vehicle running, you gotta be really careful because if you’re parked in brush, just the heat from the exhaust of your engine can cause a fire to start,” Smith explained.

He says the Park Service is also going to work with other agencies to create buffers with prescribed burns in the surrounding areas, from Borger down to Randall County.

Not only is the public’s safety of concern, the National Park Service is also making sure firefighters stay safe.

The NPS is meeting with local agencies, including the Amarillo Fire Department, to make sure they are prepared for the increased wildfire risk as well.

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