Elevated wildfire weather has been forecasted for much of West Texas. Here's what makes it such a dangerous season this year. The fact, that the recent winter storm killed so many plants, bushes and trees and all the dry vegetation that is a super-fuel for wildfires. Plus the high winds also aid in the spread of wildfires.

We must all do our part in keeping our section of Texas safe, by practicing fire-safety and keeping an eye on all property around us. Even though some wildfires are caused naturally like lightening. Over 90 percent of wildfires are caused by simple and careless human error. Yes, simple human mistakes, now can you imagine how many wildfires could be avoided if we just practiced some simple fire safety.

A majority of times, wildfires are caused by: campfires or trash fires left unattended, workers and welders out in the field (a simple weld spark or catalytic convertor) or cigarettes carelessly tossed out. Adding to the wildfire danger are the high wind speeds and low relative humidity over all the dry fuel beds. When we get careless, wildfires get out of control, fast. The worst part is, over 90% of disasters could be prevented. Here are a some tips that campers, outdoor enthusiasts, workers and all Texans can do to avoid causing wildfires.

  1. Never leave a fire unattended, make sure you completely extinguish all fires when you’re done. Completely drench the fire with water and stir the ashes until cold.
  2. Be extra safe when using oil-fuel lanterns, heaters and stoves. Any lighting and/or  heating devices should be cooled to the touch before refueling them. Keep all flammable liquids and fuels a safe distance away from appliances and open flames.
  3. Never discard cigarettes, matches or smoking materials from a  moving vehicle, or anywhere on park grounds. Completely extinguish cigarettes and then dispose of them in an appropriate ashtray or trash receptacle.
  4. When burning trash and or yard waste, obey all local laws and ordinances. Avoid burning on windy days, and keep water and fire extinguishers nearby to keep all fires in check.
  5. If you see a wildfire and haven’t received an evacuation notice, call 911 immediately . Do not assume that someone else has already called the authorities.
  6. If you find yourself in the path of a wildfire, evacuate immediately. Listen to local emergency notifications for updates. Best of all, make your own wildfire plan for you and your family before a fire ever occurs.
    Source: Texas Co-Op Power Central Texas EC

To put together your emergency evacuation plan, one should check with Safety.Gov to get all the accurate and complete notifications and alerts for when wildfires are near you. Remember to always have all your important documents ready to grab and go. Finally, make a plan we hope you will never have to use.

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Michael Bocchieri

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