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Photo: York Creek VFD
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Conditions in Texas are hot every summer, but when the oppressive heat merges with dry conditions and a lack of rainfall, it can be a recipe for wildfires.
The south-central Texas region, which includes San Antonio and the surrounding areas of Comal, Guadalupe Wilson, Atascosa and Medina counties, hasn’t experienced any measurable rainfall since June and it has surely been hot.
The oppressive heat in the region has produced triple-digit temperatures that have hovered over the region for nearly two weeks.
The dry conditions forced counties to enact a ban on outdoor burning. Comal County enacted its burn ban on July 26, followed by Kendall, Kerr and Blanco counties, which enacted burn bans on Aug. 1. Guadalupe and Hays counties began their burn ban on Aug. 5, while Bexar County announced a 90-day burn ban on Aug. 21.
Counties rely on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, also known as a KBDI, which measures on a scale of zero to 800, with 800 considered to be severe drought conditions.
According to the KBDI, the region is seeing readings between 600 and 700. On Thursday, the Bexar County Fore Marshal’s Office recorded a reading of 627 on the KBDI scale, which means the risk of wildfires is high in some areas.
Meanwhile, the dry conditions have literally fanned the flames this summer. According to the Texas Forest Service, there were 155 wildfires reported in Texas between July 1 and Aug. 21.
Those fires burned 77,654 acres in 86 counties across the state, officials reported.
Two wildfires took place last weekend in communities near San Antonio. Several volunteer firefighting organizations battled a 200-acre wildfire in Medina County on Saturday and Sunday.
In Guadalupe County, firefighters battled to contain a 100-acre fire that erupted in Kingsbury on late Sunday afternoon.
To see the risk assessment map for wildfires in your area, click here.