Texas A&M Forest Service encourages wildfire preparedness ahead of summer

May 22—COLLEGE STATION — As Memorial Day unofficially kicks off summer this weekend, Texans should prepare for wildfires.

The potential for wildfire activity will be limited to the Trans Pecos and western High Plains regions of the state this weekend. Hot and dry conditions will dry vegetation in these areas and elevated fire weather may support the ignition of small wildfires.

"Though recent rains have helped decrease wildfire potential across most of the state, we encourage everyone to be careful with outdoor activities this holiday and throughout the summer," Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief, said in a news release. "It only takes a few dry, windy days for wildfire potential to increase."

Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans and are preventable. As we head into summer, keep the following tips in mind to help prevent wildfires:

— Always check with local officials for burn bans and other outdoor burning restrictions. Pay attention to local guidelines regarding open fires, campfires and outdoor activities that may pose a fire hazard.

— Never leave your grill unattended. Wind gusts may blow embers into dry vegetation, potentially starting a wildfire.

— Ensure your grill is kept clean of excess grease to prevent flare-ups.

— Place your grill in an open space away from tall or dry grass, shrubs, woodpiles or other flammable materials. Also avoid placing your grill underneath a tree or on a wooden patio deck.

— After you are finished grilling, allow time for the coals in your grill to completely cool. Smoldering coals may reignite and release embers, which may be blown into nearby vegetation.

— If you are pulling a boat or camper, make sure the tow chains are properly connected and not dragging on the roadway creating sparks.

— Park in designated spaces and avoid driving over and parking on dry grass — the heat from your vehicle can easily ignite the grass.

For more information about protecting your home, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/ProtectYourHome/