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Dry weather heats up wildfire warning

By DAVID TEWES
Nov. 29, 2010 at 5:29 a.m.

Dry conditions and tall grass are factors that led The National Weather Service to issued a fire watch for the Victoria area.

Fire RulesFire officials are discouraging people from outdoor burning Tuesday because of the higher fire threat.

People 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.

Another shot of frigid air is on its way to the Crossroads, but not before the wildfire threat increases Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for most of the area Tuesday because of an elevated threat of grass and brush fires.

"We need to really discourage anybody from burning anything Tuesday and wait until conditions are more favorable," said David Phillips with the Victoria County fire marshal's office. "We had a freeze last week, which is going to dry everything out even more and it's just going to make burning that much more dangerous."

John Metz with the National Weather Service said the biggest threat will be a window from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He said the relative humidity will dip below 30 percent and winds will increase to 20 mph or higher.

"The key is the wind," he said. "There are going to be very strong winds in the morning, decreasing in the afternoon."

Metz said he's expecting the rest of the week to be tranquil from a fire threat standpoint because the relative humidity will be on the increase and the temperatures will warm.

But the thermometer in Victoria is supposed to dip into the upper 20s Wednesday morning before the warming trend begins. That will be the second freeze of the season.

"It's probably not enough for what we consider a hard freeze," Metz said. "You would need temperatures colder than that."

The temperature is expected to stay below freezing for about six hours. While Metz said that's not likely to cause exposed pipes to freeze, he said it wouldn't be a bad idea to prepare anyway.

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