Weather conditions increase fire danger

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- A grass fire Monday in Grayson County burned about 50 acres and with more hot and dry weather on tap firefighters say things will likely get worse before they get better.

Grayson County Emergency Management says the Keetch Byrum Drought Index is expected to reach 600 or greater in the upcoming weeks. That is when commissioners normally consider implementing a burn ban. In the meantime firefighters are urging everyone to use caution in the hot dry conditions.

Southmayd Fire Chief Hunter Nichols says it took dozens of firefighters two hours to extinguish the Southmayd grass fire.

"When we arrived on scene we initially had a hard time gaining access to the fire," Nichols said.

Sherman firefighters were also called to battle the blaze. Chief Jeff Jones says it was not just the location that made the fire hard to get under control.

"We have 18 or 20 mile wind gusts it doesn't take long with the low humidity for the grass to dry out and become a danger," Jones said.

Meteorologists say recent rains helped vegetation to grow, but now it is drying out giving any wildfire the fuel it needs to grow out of control.Jones says they saw that firsthand at the Southmayd fire.

"What little rain we get you look at there's a lot of green grass, but underneath in some of these areas are really starting to dry out," Jones said.

Firefighters say people really need to be cautious during these weather conditions. Jones says a cigarette butt or just one spark could ignite a monstrous blaze.

"With the wind like today you could be cooking outdoors the wind catch up and grab some of those coals or sparks and blow those into an area of dry grass, and that becomes a real problem even inside the city limits," Jones said.

No one was hurt in the Southmayd fire. Grayson County Emergency Manager Sara Somers, says Commissioners will vote on July 24th whether or not to implement a burn ban.

For more on Grayson County's drought index visit http://www.co.grayson.tx.us/EM/em.htm.


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