UPDATE: Brush fires increasing

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POSTED: Sunday, October 3, 2010 - 10:03pm

UPDATED: Sunday, October 3, 2010 - 10:08pm

Wind and unusually dry weather one of many contributing factors

With seasons changing and drier than usual conditions upon us, East Texas is starting to see an increase in brush fires.

Kelly Acker with the Chapel Hill Fire Department says for his department, there are 9 brush fires on record for September and they've responded to several already this month.

"One of the other big points - if your going to do outdoor burning, stay with it.  You know, it needs to be attended while its burning, that's probably where people get in trouble the most.  They'll go in the house for just a minute and think 'well I'll go in the house, fix some lunch or something and they come back outside and the fire's everywhere," Acker said. 

Acker says dry weather happens every year around this time to different degrees - but this year we haven't had a substantial rain in over a month.

Acker says one of the best ways to prevent brush fires is to plan your outdoor burning according to the dry and windy weather.

Something we've seen an abundance of...

"Winds play a big role in brush fires because the stronger the winds are, it pushes the fire, it can spread it very quickly.  We've seen strong northerly winds.  The good news is - it does look like the winds will be going light this week, so, that's only one factor though of many," said KETK meteorologist Kyle Morris.

In the meantime, fire departments like the Chapel Hill station are doing everything they can to be prepared.  One of their tools is an animated indicator map.

"The map is what they call the KBI index.  It monitors soil moisture, and it's a pretty good indication on where your going to have fires that are easily ignited and may be more than what your resources in that area may be able to handle," Acker said.

Even though certain counties are not under a burn ban, Acker says it's best to hold off on outdoor burning until we get some rain.

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