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Elevated fire danger possible for Crossroads

By DAVID TEWES
Nov. 3, 2010 at 6:03 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2010 at 6:04 a.m.


Fire RulesPeople planning controlled burns are asked to first call fire officials in Victoria County in case passersby report them as wildfires.

They can call the county fire marshal during business hours at 361-579-9103 or the fire dispatcher 24 hours a day at 361-573-3221.

Anyone with questions may call the county fire marshal's office at 361-579-9103 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

October tied as the second driest on record for Victoria and despite the rain Tuesday, the Crossroads could face fire danger.

"It will be elevated for sure," said Tawnya Evans with the National Weather Service.

Rainfall across Victoria County Tuesday ranged from 0.50 of an inch to 1.88 inches, bringing needed moisture.

"But that could change by Thursday," Evans said. "We're expecting very strong winds and drier conditions coming in."

The National Weather Service forecast winds of 15 to 22 mph Thursday, with gusts to 34 mph. The Thursday forecast also called for a sunny sky and a high near 70 degrees, with a low Thursday night of 38 degrees.

The strong winds could fan the flames of any fires that get started, Evans said.

The weather service recorded only a trace of rain last month, the lowest total for any October in 76 years. Trace amounts were also recorded for October in 1934 and 1894.

No rain fell in October in 1921, 1917 and 1893.

The latest weather service outlook for November predicts below-normal rainfall is likely and the outlook through January is for the likely development of a drought.

John Metz with the National Weather Service reported that heavy rainfall earlier this year caused excessive growth of vegetation and that will likely mean an active fire season. Frost and freezes could kill the vegetation and create fuel for wildfires during windy and dry periods.

Ron Pray, the Victoria County fire marshal, said that's all part of the normal cycle.

"The weather is going to start changing this time of year anyway," he said. "Everything starts to dry out and we get freezes."

If everyone does their part and takes the proper precautions, problems with grass and brush fires should be limited, he said. That includes monitoring controlled burns, paying attention to changing weather conditions and burning trash in burn barrels covered with grates.

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