COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the Texas A&M Forest Service are asking Texas residents to be mindful of activities that could start a wildfire during Memorial Day weekend, especially as some regions of the state continue to not have much rainfall.
According to a news release from the organization, the Texas A&M Forest Service has responded to more than 3,600 wildfires between 2017 and 2021, burning around 1.4 million acres in total. Officials said almost half of the incidents occurred during the summer and the majority were caused by people and their activities.
“Texas A&M Forest Service encourages all residents to stay safe during the holiday weekend,” said Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Wildfire Prevention Program Coordinator. “Every Texan has a role to play in protecting our state from wildfires and preventing any new ignitions. Remember to do your part, and don’t let a wildfire start.”
Officials said that while some portions of the state have recently received rain, some regions of the state have not received “significant precipitation,” the release said. The hot, dry summer months will continue to increase drought conditions and help support wildfire ignitions.
“The high summer temperatures across the state and an abundance of grass, brush and other dry vegetation can quickly turn an unintended spark into a wildfire,” Stafford said in the release. “Be mindful of conditions and cautious of your outdoor activities that may cause a spark.”
The Texas A&M Forest Service provided some tips for people to follow to avoid starting a wildfire over Memorial Day weekend. According to the release, those tips include:
- Park in designated spaces and avoid driving over and parking on dry grass;
- Always check with local officials for burn bans or other outdoor burning restrictions;
- When using a cooking fire or campfire, never leave it unattended. Always make sure it is completely out by drowning it with water, stirring it and feeling to ensure it is out cold before a person leaves the site;
- If pulling a boat or a camper, make sure the tow chains are properly connected and not dragging on the roadway, creating sparks;
- Carry a fire extinguisher at all times in case a fire ignites near you.