Fire Crews Ready for Fire Danger on Wednesday

Weather conditions on Wednesday could mean a break out of wildfires in western counties.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Texas A&M Forest Service is warning there could be an active wildfire area from Tyler all the way west to the Texas-New Mexico border. (Published Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012)

    Parts of North Texas are watching the weather very closely Tuesday, as conditions could lead to wildfires in the coming days.

    The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for Wednesday in Parker, Palo Pinto and other counties to the west.

    The Texas A&M Forest Service issued a warning to residents from San Antonio to Austin to Tyler, as a lack of rain coupled with windy and dry conditions could easily ignite brush and leading to large wildfires.

    That forecast has fire departments across the area readying for could be a busy couple of days.

    "Our goal is to get on top of anything that might break lose as quickly as possible to minimize the impacts," Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott said.

    Looking at brush along Jacksboro Highway in Parker County and just about anywhere in North Texas, and it's hard not to see why Scott and other fire fighters keeping an eye on the weather.

    "This time of year I'm always concerned," Scott said. "With dormant vegetation, with as much growth as we had over the summer, we've got a lot of dead vegetation right now, that provides a lot of fuel."

    Fuel and fire is something residents and fire crews know all too well in the west of the Metroplex counties. Scott said the Possum Kingdom fire and the fire outbreak of April 2009 quickly come to mind when conditions like this appear likely, which is why he spent Tuesday afternoon making sure everyone in his county was ready.

    "We want to double-check that our volunteer stations have the the resources, the manpower, for the next couple of days," Scott said.

    He added that they would reposition resources if needed.

    Closer to Fort Worth, the city of Azle's brush truck sat idle Tuesday afternoon, but Fire Marshal Kenny Wilson said they would be ready to assist if needed.

    "Typically, we send support units to Parker County and Palo Pinto and so forth," he said.

    Azle city limits are in both Tarrant and Parker counties, which both passed outdoor burn bans earlier this month. Wilson said conditions are similar to what we normally see in the summer.

    "Especially with a nice little breeze like we have today -- a little spark can take off and this dry grass will just ignite very readily," he said.

    Parker County crews will be ready if that happens, but they hope it doesn't.

    "I hope not, but we'll be prepared if anything breaks lose," Scott said.

    But it's not just fire concerns from the lack of rain, but water too.

    A source with the city of Fort Worth says Stage 1 water restrictions are imminent in the weeks ahead. The Tarrant Regional Water District website shows water levels at 78 percent.