Texas wildfire activity declining as summer comes to a close

As summer comes to a close, so does wildfires in Texas.

"With the increase moistures and kind of where we expect our wildfire activity to continue to be, we have lowered our preparedness level down to a one at this point," says Adam Turner, Texas A&M Forest Service Public Information Officer.

Turner says this year Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments have responded to 5,542 wildfires across the state, with 191,022 acres burned. A total of 3,849 homes were saved.

"Prior to today we were sitting at a PL level of two, or preparedness level of two, we had reached higher levels throughout the course of the summer," said Turner.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, in the month of September there were close to 619 wildfires in the state of Texas, totaling around 36,000 acres.

"Travis County has had about 27 fires that local fire departments have responded to for about 24 acres. The last we responded to was about 18 acres in size, that’s a total of 28 fires all together for a total of 42.62 acres, technically. The last was since the beginning of September," said Turner.

He says the downward trend is normal for this time of year.

"We are coming out of what is our typical summer fire season. We are moving to kind of a low period before we begin into our winter fire season again typically February, March," he said.

Records on the Texas A&M Forest Service website show 144 burn bans in effect across the state.

"For many counties when they are looking at burn bans, they are looking at how much moisture is still remaining in the soil to make that determination," said Turner.

Turner says the bans are being lifted as conditions improve. This month, Williamson County and Hays County lifted burn bans as well.

"Use safe burning practices, so if you are going to go out and burn on a day or a period where a burn ban has been lifted, you have to monitor it, make sure that you are careful with what you're burning and not getting to ahead of yourself," Turner said.

Turner says 90 percent of wildfires are caused by residents, and to remain on the decline, taking proper precaution is key.

"Please just stay and watch your burn pile when you're burning something. The number of times that those burn piles get out, that is one of our leading causes of wildfires here in the state of Texas," he said.