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Near-critical fire weather conditions expected for Central Texas

Chalk Mountain Fire in Texas

A shot of the Chalk Mountain Fire in Somervell County on July 19 when activity increased. The fire encompasses 6,705 acres and was only 10 percent contained by the afternoon of Friday, July 22. Courtesy photo

Residents in 27 Texas counties, including Burnet, Llano, Blanco, Williamson, and Travis, are being asked to not use welding or grinding equipment near grass and dry brush; park vehicles in tall, dry grass and weeds; or throw cigarette butts on the ground. The request comes from the National Weather Service, which issued a fire danger statement for 2-10 p.m. Friday, July 22, for areas in the Southern Edwards Plateau, Rio Grande Plains, Hill Country, and Interstate 35 corridor. 

A weather statement is an unofficial product issued within a NWS forecast office area and used when weather approaches watch, warning, or advisory criteria. 

Fire danger statement for Texas July 22, 2022
The 27 counties included in the National Weather Service’s fire danger statement for Friday, July 22, are marked in red. That includes Burnet, Llano, Blanco, Williamson, and Travis counties in Central Texas. Courtesy image

Weather conditions leading to the current fire danger statement include: 

  • south to southeast winds of 10-14 mph with gusts expected to reach 25 mph;
  • 20-25 percent relative humidity;
  • and fuel dryness level listed as dry to extremely dry.

“Affected residents are urged to exercise care with respect to all outdoor activities that could inadvertently cause wildfires,” reads the NWS statement. 

Hot and dry conditions are expected to continue over the weekend and into next week, though temperatures will cool a few degrees from a high of 106 degrees to about 100-102 degrees. 

The Texas A&M Forest Service responded to 11 new wildfires on Thursday, July 21, that burned about 1,060 acres. Of the 256 Texas counties, 215 have issued burn bans, including all Central Texas counties. Firefighters are working to contain 16 active wildfires, including the smallest, the Sky Diver Fire in Caldwell County (10 acres, 75 percent contained) and the largest, the Chalk Mountain Fire in Somervell County (6,705 acres, 10 percent contained). 

The Forest Service has responded to 6,809 wildfires that have burned 596,427 acres since Jan. 1, 2022. 

editor@thepicayune.com