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Dry Independence Day conditions worry East Texas fire officials

Dry Independence Day conditions worry East Texas fire officials

POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 12:04pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 12:14pm

Two weeks without rain has East Texas fire officials concerned about Fourth of July fireworks.

West Harrison Volunteer Fire Department has battled three small grass fires since Saturday and will staff firefighters at the fire station all day Thursday, said spokesman Ryan Freeman.

“Most fireworks burn at 1,200 degrees,” said Freeman, who has been part of the West Harrison VFD the past nine years. “Grass will burn at 200 to 300 degrees. We’ll have people at the station and on standby all day.”

While there are no countywide burn bans in effect across Northeast Texas, the lack of precipitation and low humidity have increased the likelihood fireworks could spark fires.

The National Weather Service in Shreveport reported Tuesday that Longview is almost 7 inches below normal rainfall for the year. The last measurable precipitation was recorded June 17.

Brad Smith, wildland fire analyst for the Texas A&M Forest Service, said East Texas is about two weeks of summer-time conditions away from being under serious consideration for a burn ban.

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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