With little chance of rain in the forecast and drought conditions continuing to worsen, fire danger is extremely high across the East Texas forests.
“This is the peak season when people want to spend time in the woods,” Mark Van Every, Forest Supervisor for the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas said. “This it is also a critical time for our forests. It’s important that visitors to the forest are extremely careful with campfires.”
Remember Smokey Bear’s rules for campfire safety:
— In recreation areas, use the designated fire ring or picnic grill.
— If there is no fire ring or grill available, clear a three-foot area around the fire down to the soil.
— Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.
— Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
— After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold.
— Never leave a campfire unattended, not even for a minute.
— Douse the campfire with water and stir the ashes until it cold to the touch.
“Also be careful with cigarettes,” he said. “Carelessly dropped cigarettes or matches are a major cause of grassfires, so make sure they are out cold before discarding.”
He also cautioned people to be on the lookout for wildfires.
“Be watchful for any fires that get out of control and to call local fire authorities as soon as a fire is spotted,” Van Every said. “We need help from our neighbors in surrounding communities during this dry season to ensure that the forests and property owners on adjacent lands are safe from careless wildfires.”