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Texas Wildfire Experts Predict Weaker Threat Level This Year

A tanker plane drops fire retardant on the Old Potato fire in Bastrop, that began October 4, 2011.
Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News
Texas A&M Forest Service experts don't expect the 2015 wildfire season in Texas to be anything like the 2011 one, which caused the Bastrop fires pictured here.

The 2015 wildfire season is fast approaching. In Colorado yesterday, federal officials talked about the growing threat of catastrophic wildfires across the country.

Here in Texas, the threat of wildfires is not as high as in other states, but that’s because of recent flooding. 

Experts like Tom Spencer, who heads the predictive services department at the Texas A&M Forest Service, say this year, the upcoming wildfire season is causing them less stress.

Spencer says it doesn’t look like Texas will have a season like in 2011, when the devastating Bastrop fires happened.

"We’re not expecting 2015 to be anything close to what we had in 2011," he says. 

It only takes two or three weeks of dry weather, however, for fire potential to pick up. Meanwhile, if fires aren’t sparking, Paul Hannemann, chief of fire operations for the Texas A&M Forest Service, says they’re watching floods or hurricanes.  

"So there is a measure of relief regarding wildfires, but at the same time, to make there being a relief from wildfires there’s something else that occurs," Hannemann says. "Just like we’ve experienced in the last month here, the floods that we dealt with."

Even though fires in Texas can happen any time of the year, typically the wildfire season runs from about mid-July to mid-September. It peaks in mid- to late August. 

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