Dry Fall calls for East Texas drought watch - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Dry Fall calls for East Texas drought watch

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LONGVIEW/ GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - The Longview Fire Department told me today that this drying trend has been going on since early October, and although East Texas has not experienced critical fire weather here lately, the lack of much needed rain could make that a problem after winter.

"As winter approaches and freezing starts to kill off the grasses, this does cause some concern about the fire potential."

Longview's Assistant Fire Chief, Curtis Shaw says, his firefighters deal more with structure fires.

But after last year his men are being trained to fight wildfires like this one.

"In 2011 we had some pretty severe fire conditions throughout the state."

Which he says was the direct result of a lack of rain...

"Dropping humidity levels, increasing wind conditions."

Making for dry grass, trees and leaves that will catch fire quickly and spread quickly.

"As you can see outside right now, it's not the concern for today but over the next few months it's something we have to keep an eye on."

"Although Gregg county got less than 1/10 of an inch of rain today, that's certainly not enough of the soaking rain needed to fight against these drying conditions."

The National Weather Service office in Shreveport reports the month of November to be the 3rd driest month on record for Tyler.

In November 2011, Tyler got 3.36 inches of rainfall.

In November of this year, there was only .28 of an inch of rain, not even 1 inch.

November was the 5th driest month on record for Longview.

In 2011 Longview got 3.48 inches of rainfall.

This November there was only .78 of an inch reported.

"While we have had some rain, it's not what we typically get for this time of year."

Chief Shaw adds that it doesn't help when people contribute to the potential fire dangers.

"Things like discarded cigarettes and sparks and fireworks can cause some very rapidly developing fire conditions."

That could result in drought related wildfires like east Texas faced last year. The Texas Fire Service says the drop in rainfall has come in the past 60 days.

As a result, lakes are not refilling quickly and some even dropping which is unusual for winter in Texas.

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