COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With hunting season approaching, many Texans are headed to hunting leases and other open areas across the state.
This influx of people into natural environments means a greater potential for human-caused wildfires.
"We know that 90% of wildfires in Texas are human caused," said Melanie Karns, Texas A&M Forest Service hazard mitigation coordinator. "And this time of year brings more people outdoors, which can increase fire starts from escaped campfires, parking on dry grass and chains dragging the road."
Texas A&M Forest Service advises hunters to pay particular attention to the many common causes of wildfires related to outdoor activities:
- When fire danger is high, hunters should avoid using jacketed bullets, tracer rounds and high-velocity ammunition. If target shooting, use areas free of dry vegetation and don't use targets that may throw sparks or hot fragments, like steel or rocks.
- Avoid driving over and parking on dry grass because the heat from your vehicle can easily ignite it. Always be ready to put out a fire should one start. Have a shovel and water with you in camp and have a fire extinguisher with you at all times.
- Each county in Texas sets and lifts its own burn bans. Make sure you know your county's burn ban status and if it restricts open flames and other heat-causing activities such as using charcoal.
- When using a cooking fire or campfire, never leave it unattended, and always make sure it is completely out by drowning it, stirring it and feeling to ensure it is out cold before you leave.
- If you are taking a trailer out on your adventures, make sure the tires are properly inflated, chains will not contact the road and that any loose metal will not continually hit anything else, all of which can cause sparks.
For information on preventing wildfires, please visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/PreventWildfire/.