Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Texas wildfire season hits one year, with no end in sight

KHOU via the Associated Press: The devastating Texas wildfire season reaches the one-year mark on Tuesday, and there appears to be no end in sight as officials brace for large blazes that could ignite anywhere across the drought-stricken state. Despite a recent lull in fire activity statewide, the threat remains in parts of Texas, so the Texas Forest Service is not declaring an end to the wildfire season that started Nov. 15, 2010.

"This year is a little harder to call (for an ending point) because we’re still picking up some fire calls daily," said Tom Spencer, director of the Texas Forest Service’s predictive services department. And officials are expecting some large fires this winter and next spring because of dead trees and pastures across the bone-dry state, he said.

The exact starting and ending dates of wildfire seasons vary each year and do not affect the state fire agency’s resources or finances, said agency spokeswoman April Saginor. Another devastating season ran more than a year, from April 2005 through September 2006, when blazes charred about 2 million acres, left 12 people dead and destroyed more than 400 homes. But the 2008 and 2009 seasons each lasted less than a calendar year, according to Texas Forest Service records.

In the past year, wildfires statewide have destroyed nearly 4 million acres and more than 2,900 homes, killing 10 people....

Smoke from the 2011 Wildcat wildfire in Tom Green County. Seen from US 67 near Miles, Texas, shot by DCBS18, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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