Texas A&M Forest Service alerts public to threat of wildfires from strong winds drying out grass and brush this weekend and into week of May 5, urges people to be award of local burn bans, take precautions

COLLEGE STATION, Texas , May 2, 2014 (press release) – Strong winds are expected to help dry out grass and brush this weekend potentially leading to an increase in wildfire activity. Texas A&M Forest Service urges residents to be mindful of local burn bans and exercise preventative measures to remain safe.

“The warm and dry weather this weekend will accelerate drying of vegetation across the state ahead of critical fire weather forecast over west Texas during the early part of next week,” said TFS Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer. “An increased potential for accidental fire starts will be present through this period, with the highest potential occurring when active fire weather is present.”

Along with the concerns for west Texas, hot weather and gusty winds in central and east Texas could cause an increase in fire potential this weekend.

“With vegetation dryness increasing around the state, we want residents to know ways they can prevent wildfires from starting and how they can protect themselves and their property,” said Melanie Spradling, TFS wildland urban interface specialist.

Keep the following tips in mind to ensure you remain safe this weekend:
· Do not burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.
· Obey outdoor burning bans.
· The most common cause of wildfires is humans: Careless debris burning, unattended campfires, dumping hot charcoal or hot ashes, parking or driving in dry grass, dragging chains on the road, and welding can all cause fires.
· Remove combustible materials away from your house.
· Be sure your family has a plan for evacuation. Part of your plan should include gathering important documents and prescription medicines and determine where you will go if you must evacuate.

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