Residents asked to be cautious during fire season

Drought conditions, high winds and low humidity are prompting Texas Forest Service officials to predict a high risk for wildfire on Sunday, Feb. 27, in the Big Country. The combination of ongoing drought, gusty winds and low humidity creates the potential for large and threatening wildfires. Texans should use caution and refrain from outdoor burning or other activities that could start a wildfire. No outdoor burning is authorized under the current burn bans issued by county officials. Weather conditions forecasted for this Sunday indicate a possible severe dust storm. Aircraft used to contain fires could be grounded because of the high winds and dust. This scenario could put firefighters at a greater risk as they bravely face the elements to keep the state safe. "We have been having multiple mechanical issues, even with our newer trucks, with all of the fires that we have been fighting recently and have had to face fires with a small water supply," said Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden. The best way to stop a fire is prevention rather than reaction. Recent small rains provide minimal or no relief of fire threat due the extreme dry grasses, high winds and temperatures."We ask that people please be very careful outside. Even if the cause of a fire is an accident, you are ultimately responsible for the damage incurred by the fire," said Madden.Madden explained that some recent fires have been caused by outdoor activities. Whether it be welding, barbecuing or throwing a lit cigarette on the road, the person who caused the fire is responsible for the damages caused by the fire, even if it was accidental in nature.