Area drought conditions are prime for wildfire danger

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The High Plains region is in the midst of one of the driest periods in recent history. With that, the wildfire risk for the area is extremely high.

“This time of year, we’re entering into the peak of the danger and risks of wildfires in Texas, from November to April,” said Jeff Justus, Community Liason of Amarillo Fire Department. “We’re in a drought right now, the wind starts kicking up, it just gets drier and drier.”

As surprising as it may be, fall and winter are the times of year when wildfire risks skyrocket. But, Justus said given the area’s wildfire history, it’s not so surprising.

“A lot of people imagine wildfires happening in summer or spring time because they associate wind with the spring, heat with the summer,” he said. “But, really this is the worst time of year for wildfires. Our history in west texas, some of our worst wildfires have happened in February.”

So..what are some of the wildfire risks you should be aware of?

With the area’s delicate, dry conditions setting a prime climate for wildfires. What can you do to stay safe?

“Mow your yards, trim your trees, shorten everything up. Flying embers from wildfires are what spreads a lot of the wildfires, they just fly off and they can go up to a mile away,” he said. “Land in some random corner of your proper or up in your gutter that’s full of dried leaves and next thing you know, your house is on fire.”

Justus says preparation is key.

“Prepare a bag, have a go bag ready, put essential items in there, medications, keys, documents that you can’t replace, warm clothing since we’re in the winter time, phone chargers, batteries,” he said. “Get set, have a plan for your family, and when the wildfire hits, go. Go right away, don’t hesitate, because that’s what cost lives.”

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