If you live in Central Texas, particularly in exurbs abutting woodlands and greenbelts, you’ll want to keep a keen eye out this weekend for wildfires.
The National Weather Service is forecasting “gust” winds beginning tomorrow morning and increasing in the afternoon, leading to possible “critical fire weather conditions” for a few hours Saturday afternoon. The service says humidity will drop while winds will pick up, gusting up to 35 miles per hour, creating “potentially volatile” conditions. (Update: the service has now issued a red flag warning.)
The good news is the danger will be relatively brief. Come Saturday evening, the forecasters say that the winds will die down and humidity will recover. While there will be “elevated” fire conditions Sunday and Monday during the afternoons and evening, they aren’t expected to be as severe as Saturday.
Here’s a full list of the counties affected, and a map of burn bans in the area:
- LLANO…BURNET…WILLIAMSON…VAL VERDE…EDWARDS…REAL… KERR…BANDERA…GILLESPIE…KENDALL…BLANCO…HAYS… TRAVIS…BASTROP…LEE…KINNEY…UVALDE…MEDINA…BEXAR… COMAL…GUADALUPE…CALDWELL…MAVERICK…ZAVALA…FRIO… ATASCOSA…WILSON…DIMMIT
And here’s a map of burn bans in Texas:
A year ago, after the driest period in Texas history, similar high winds and low humidity created conditions that helped spark the worst fires ever seen in the state. You can read more about the 2011 Labor Day wildfires in our special series with KUT News, Forged in Flames.
Update — the Texas A&M Forest Service has also released a warning:
“Critically dry fuels exist in parts of North Texas, Northeast Texas, the Western Pineywoods and the Hill Country – and Texas A&M Forest Service officials are cautioning residents to be careful this weekend when doing anything outdoors that could create a spark.”
Up-to-date wildfire activity is available on the Texas A&M Forest Service website.