Hottest summer in Texas ups wildfire danger, lowers water levels

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

DENISON, TX-Texas just finished the hottest summer on record, which caused an increase in wildfires in Texoma and Lake Texoma's water levels to drop.
According to the National Weather Service, between June and August, the average temperature in Texas is 86.8 degrees while Oklahoma is 86.5 degrees. The intense heat not only led to several wildfires, the lack of rain dropped the level of Lake Texoma by six feet.
Denison Fire Chief Gordan Weger said they've responded to 25 to 30 fires a month, with up to 5 fires a week. Because of the dry weather conditions, flames rapidly spread burning at least 2,000 acres. He also said firefighters had a hard time combating the blaze because of the heat.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers B.J. Parkey said Lake Texoma's depth dropped six feet from the normal 616.5 feet at this time of the year and, because the water was so still during the summer, blue-green algae flourished.
Both said that even though temperatures have cooled off a bit, conditions are not better yet.

"But that doesn't mean the danger is not here. We still have a lot of dead grass, it's still dry until we get some soaking rain to try to hit some of this off. We're still in pretty bad fire danger," Weger said.

"The hotter it is, the windier it is, evaporation's going to increase. With a little bit cooler temperatures that helps evaporation somewhat, but evaporation is still there," said Parkey.

Both Parkey and Weger said in order for conditions to improve, we need significant rainfall. Unfortunately, that doesn't look to be in the forecast any time soon.

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