11:12 am
Fri April 29, 2011

Extreme Fire Conditions Forecast Today Across Texas

A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture plane flies over firefighting operations in Scurry County, Texas on April 27. Extreme fire conditions are forecast across much of the state today.
Photo by DVIDSHUB http://www.flickr.com/photos/dvids/

Ten major wildfires are still burning across Texas today, an area that spans 562,004 acres. No new fires were reported on Thursday, but extreme fire conditions are predicted across West Texas today, with red flag warnings in effect. Some two-million acres have already been scorched in Texas since January 1.

One bit of news from the Texas Forest Service. It says the Possum Kingdom wildfire, which burned more than 126,000 acres, has been completely contained.

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3:19 pm
Thu April 28, 2011

Preventing Fires Along The Greenbelt

Austin fire investigators say a cigarette is to blame for the apartment fire at the The Woods located just across the street from the eastern portion of the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

Mike May says he loves living right off the Barton Creek Greenbelt. But he knows the apartment complex he is in is at risk during high fire season. So do managers. After burnt coals were dumped in the dog park, the managers started warning tenants about fire dangers.

“They put signs on the fences and things like that when things are going on and they actually just come around and put it on your particular door,” May said.

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2:00 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

Austin Bans Grilling And Smoking Cigarettes In Local Parks

The city doesn't want you doing any of this in local parks because of extremely dry conditions.
Photo by ~Dezz~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/residae/

The current extreme drought has parched local parks so badly that the city is moving to ban grilling and cigarette smoking on all 16,000 acres of land in the Parks and Recreation system. That includes parks, playgrounds, city cemeteries, golf courses, and pretty much anything else you can find on this list.

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1:30 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

Wimberley Fire May Have Been Caused By Outdoor Grill

Images of the fire taken by YNN's Russell Wilde.

In an area that is currently facing an extreme drought, "wildfire" is one of the last words you want to hear when you wake up on Friday morning. But that's exactly what happened today in Wimberley, a small town with a vibrant artistic community that is less than an hour's drive from Austin.

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4:22 pm
Thu April 21, 2011

Restaurant Hosts Fundraiser For Oak Hill Wildfire Victims

Jack Allen's Kitchen is hosting a fundraiser for Oak Hill residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by fire on Sunday.
Photo by Kenny Richter. Used with permission

People who lost property in a wildfire in the southwest Austin neighborhood of Oak Hill will get some help this weekend from Jack Allen's Kitchen. The restaurant is hosting a $20 appetizer buffet from 2 pm to 4 pm Saturday with all proceeds going to wildfire victims.

"It's just kind of a show of support, and a way for everyone to get together and mend a little bit," Jack Allen's Kitchen co-owner Tom Kamm told KUT News.

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3:34 pm
Thu April 21, 2011

Governor Perry Asks Texans to Pray for Rain

Governor Rick Perry has issued a proclamation for days of prayer for rain in Texas over this weekend.
Photo by Kenn Zuniga for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry is asking Texans to pray... a lot.

The Governor has proclaimed the next three days as “Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas.”  He is asking all people of different kinds of faith and religion to offer prayers for rain.

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3:21 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Feds Join Battle Against Possum Kingdom Wildfire

Wildfires burn out of control near Possum Kingdom Lake in this image from last Friday. The blaze has already destroyed more than 100 homes.
Photo by Texas Military Forces http://www.flickr.com/photos/texasmilitaryforces/

More than 600 homes are threatened in an area around Possum Kingdom Lake, about an hour west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, after four wildfires merged into one.

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5:04 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

History of Texas Drought 2000-2011



Our current drought has ravaged crops and pastures, and is contributing to devastating wildfires in West Texas. Using data from the US Drought Monitor, we are able to show you the history of drought in Texas from 2000 to 2011. The higher the bar, the greater percentage of Texas' land mass was in drought.

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11:37 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Dramatic Images Of West Texas Wildfires

Large wildfires erupted yesterday in Brewster and Angelina counties, adding to the 309,500 acres of wildfires the Texas Forest Service has battled over the last week. A Garland-based company called Sky Helicopters posted the video above to YouTube. 

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11:25 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Texas Forest Service Provides Update On West Texas Wildfires

This photo from 2009 shows the effect that West Texas wildfires can have on the skies over North Texas.
Photo by TexasEagle http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaseagle/

Here's the latest information from the Texas Forest Service as it struggles to contain wildfires that have already blackened 309,500 acres. This report was circulated to media this morning. We present it to you in its entirety.

Monday, April 11, 2011
National Preparedness Level: 1
Southern Area Preparedness Level: 3
TFS Preparedness Level: 5


Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 12 fires for 22,432 acres, including new large fires in Brewster and Angelina counties.  In the past seven days TFS has responded to 83 fires for 309,526 acres. 

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11:07 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Parts Of Central Texas Are Drier Than West Texas Wildfire Zone

The Colorado River Bridge in Bastrop. Parts of Bastrop County are in the US Drought Monitor's most intense drought classification of "exceptional drought".
Photo by cmh2315fl http://www.flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07/

As wildfires tear across West Texas and leave a 309,500 acre path of scorched earth, the drought situation here in Central Texas is becoming increasingly dangerous. Patches of the region are experiencing the most intense drought conditions classified by the US Drought Monitor.  

"We're extremely dry, and because of that our fire danger has really gone up," Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose told KUT News. "It's one of the driest six month periods on records."

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3:33 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

LCRA Launches Drought Update Page

Drought conditions aren't expected to be as bad as 2008-09's dry spell, but 2011 is shaping up to be a dry spring and summer.
Photo by KUT News.

Dry, drier, driest: Drought conditions are returning to Central Texas, and one expert thinks it could be this autumn before the region gets enough rain to reverse the trend. 

That has officials at the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) making sure people throughout the region know what condition our water supply is in.  The authority has launched a "Drought Update" page that shows a graphical representation of the drought situation.

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11:32 am
Thu December 9, 2010

Drought Conditions Threaten Texas

A dry lakebed near Dallas in 2005. Latest weather data indicates most of Texas is "abnormally dry" right now.
Image courtesy Whatknot http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatknot/

The latest US Drought Monitor Map, released this morning, shows 85 percent of Texas is "abnormally dry."

Eighty Texas counties currently have burn bans in effect, according to a Texas Parks and Wildlife map. Travis County is not currently under a burn ban but the neighboring counties of Williamson, Lee, Burnet, and Blanco are.

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