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Fire danger, red flag warnings return

Red flag warning for April 6, 2022

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning due to strong winds Wednesday, April 6, for Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties along with much of South Central Texas. It is effective from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The NWS anticipates more warnings as windy conditions continue throughout the week. NWS graphic

After a fairly calm, though hot, Tuesday, a series of cold fronts moving across the Highland Lakes have earned a red flag warning and wind advisory from the National Weather Service.

The NWS issued a red flag warning for Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties along with most of South Central Texas, effective from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 6. The area is also under a wind advisory from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

According to the NWS, the area can expect sustained winds of 20-25 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph. The winds, combined with low humidity and dry vegetation, also raise the wildfire danger to “very high” and “extreme.”

Texas A&M Forest Service officials stated that wildfire “activity is expected to gradually increase throughout the week,” according to a media release.

Wind advisory for April 6, 2022
The Highland Lakes area is under a wind advisory from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, due to strong winds and potential gusts of up to 40 mph. NWS graphic

Low humidity and high winds create conditions for a “prolonged period of accelerated drying” of vegetation. The Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions and has placed personnel and equipment in areas of concern for a quick response in case of wildfires.

Fire officials encourage residents to help protect homes and property by creating defensible space around structures.

“It is the responsibility of each individual resident to prepare their home for wildfires,” said Kari Hines, Firewise program coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service. “Every year, hundreds of homes survive wildfires unaided — allowing firefighters to operate safely to protect them — due to the landscaping and building choices made long before the fire ever started.”

The Forest Service recommends the following steps to protect homes and other structures:

  • use non-flammable landscaping materials within the first 30 feet of your home;
  • regularly water plants, trees, and mulch within the first 5 feet;
  • consider xeriscaping if you are affected by water restrictions;
  • maintain a healthy landscape and carefully space plants;
  • remove dead vegetation from under decks or structures and from within 10 feet of your home;
  • and prune trees so low-hanging branches don’t touch the ground.

“Even simple things such as moving flammable material away from wooden structures like decks and steps, pruning shrubs in front of windows and under mature trees, and cleaning out gutters can be done with limited amount of time if a wildfire is in the area,” Hines added.

Visit the Texas A&M Forest Service website for more ways to protect your home and property. 

editor@thepicayune.com