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Fire dangers rise as area gets drier

Fire dangers rise as area gets drier
The Longview News Journal
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Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 10:39pm

MARSHALL — Firefighters from across Harrison County battled a 17-acre grass and woods fire Friday northwest of Marshall — just one result of what a state official calls “critical dryness.”
The blaze along Calloway Road engulfed a vehicle and singed a house.

On Friday afternoon, firefighters battled similar blazes in Camp, Cass, Hopkins and Red River counties, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service Dispatch Tracker.

Most counties in the northeast corner of the state were designated Friday as in extreme drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“We’ve reached what I call critical dryness,” said Brad Smith, fire predictor with the Texas A&M Forest Service. “That’s not good. We can get worse — there’s room to get worse — but we’ve reached that threshold. The weather we’re seeing is hot and dry. But there are no winds, so we can see fires start and ignite because of dry conditions. But control and containment issues are not as great because of light winds. The game-changer would be if we saw increased winds.”

The calm winds aided Harrison County firefighters Friday in containing the Calloway Road fire. Veteran Woodlawn VFD firefighter Royce Allen said it was the worst blaze he’d seen since the 2011 wildfires. 

Read more at The Longview News Journal

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