Low humidity, dry air, lack of rain increase fire danger in the Brazos Valley

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 8:13 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -While the cooler mornings the Brazos Valley is seeing are great, they also bring high fire danger in the afternoons.

The lower humidity combined with cooler temperatures and gusty winds that are expected due to Hurricane Ian could increase the risk of wildfires in the Brazos Valley this week.

Currently, only Washington and Walker counties are under a burn ban according to the Texas A&M Forest Service burn ban web map.

Fire experts say while drought conditions are no longer in the severe or extreme range now is not the time to drop your guard or get complacent when it comes to fire dangers and safety.

“The big story this week is the low humidity, that’s what’s going to be driving a lot of the fire dangers,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Analyst Logan Scherschel. “We had the big long-duration rain event that came through the state kind of the last week of august but we’ve not had any rain since then.”

“When the humidity is really low and the air is really dry, fuels are losing moisture trying to reach that equilibrium with the surrounding air. When the humidity is really high, fuels are taking in that moisture out of the air,” said Scherschel.

Brazos County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Jason Ware says they’ve seen a slight uptick in fires across the county over the last few days.

“We do have some concerns as far as wildfires are concerned,” said Ware. “We’ve had a couple of wildland fires over the last couple of days. One on the east side of the county that resulted in about five acres that burned and that was a powerline issue but that just shows you that conditions are dry and you need to be very very careful if you’re doing any sort of outdoor burning.”

Ware says while there is no burn ban currently in effect for Brazos County or surrounding counties you should think twice before starting a controlled burn.

“When those conditions exist it’s very easy for a control burn to get out of hand and spread quickly and your controlled burn then becomes noncontrolled,” said Ware.

Ware says you should always keep a hose or other source of water nearby when doing a controlled burn and familiarize yourself with your county’s burning guidelines. We’ve placed a copy of Brazos County’s controlled burn guidelines below.