Texas Forest Service increases response level amid drought and wildfire threat

Elyse Smith Image
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Texas Forest Service makes preparations amid drought, wildfire threat
Conroe's Texas Forest Service increases its response team level amid drought and wildfire threats across southeast Texas.

CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas A&M Forest Service in Conroe is increasing its response team in preparation for potential wildfires this summer and fall.

It's been over 30 days since Houston received measurable rainfall, and the result has been a gradual decline in drought conditions. As of the latest Drought Monitor released on Aug. 10, every county in southeast Texas has either moderate to severe drought conditions.

With no considerable rain chance in sight, these drought conditions are likely going to persist and potentially get worse - and the wildfire risk will follow suit.

On Monday, ABC13 Meteorologist Elyse Smith spoke to Matthew Ford, the public information officer for the Texas A&M Forest Service in Conroe.

READ MORE: 100 firefighters respond to mulch fire in NW Houston near Crawford Road at landscape facility

Ford mentioned they've increased resources locally by bringing in people and supplies from out of state. But the biggest challenge has been the weather.

"With the dry vegetation, triple-digit temps, and low relative humidity, we're seeing an increase not only in fire activity but for local firefighters to control the activity. It's forcing us to have more resources and more time to make sure those fires are contained," Ford said.

Nine out of 10 fires in the state of Texas are caused by humans, so it's important to follow local burn bans and any fire weather alerts that might be issued. With these hot and dry conditions, plus a breeze, it doesn't take much for one small burn to become a wildfire.

READ MORE: Do you smell smoke? Large mulch fire burns for 2nd day on Crawford Road in NW Houston