- Texas forests face record-breaking danger
On a recent Facebook wall, someone posted “Texas is on fire.” While not exactly true, this year has been the worst fire season in Texas’ recorded history, according to Tom Boggus, Texas Forest Service director.
Started during the Labor Day weekend, the massive Bastrop County Complex fire combined with the Union Chapel fire had burned more than 34,000 acres and destroyed 1,554 homes. Two people were found dead. In the first fourteen days of September, the forest service responded to more than 325 fires.
The main culprit causing these fires: the record-breaking severe drought of 2011.
- Resources and tips for landowners from the Texas Forest Service
- Drought, Wildfire and Forest Health
- Don’t depend on Mother Nature to water your drought-stricken trees
- Best Water Methods for Drought-stricken Trees
- Help available for property recovery after a wildfire
- Predictive Services Information
- Burn ban information
- Daily fire danger map
- Forecast fire danger
- Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)
- National Weather Service
- Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS)
- Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment (SWRA)
- Fuels/Fire Danger
- Fire Outlooks
- Wildfires in Texas: A personal account from the Bastrop County fire
As the Bastrop County Complex fire swept through thousands of acres and homes Sept. 4, one local homeowner did not grasp the danger rapidly approaching as he was evacuated from his home.
Mike Kubicek, who has lived in his Bastrop home nearly 10 years, was evacuated on a Labor Day weekend that he will now never forget.
“I could see the smoke rolling in front and heard the sound coming in behind,” said Kubicek.
- Drought perspectives: Nueces River Authority
Staff at the Nueces River Authority (NRA) are more frequently hearing the statement, “No one now alive has ever seen it this dry,” as the Nueces River Basin, along with most of the state, is in the depths of the drought.
Local tanks and many of the Nueces’ tributaries and are reduced to potholes or have become completely dry, and in some areas, residents line up to pump water from remaining pools.
- Power generation and consumers feel the effects of drought
Continued drought, decreasing water availability and increasing water temperatures are affecting power plants, which in turn affects energy consumers throughout the state, said experts at The University of Texas at Austin.
“If we see this drought continue, combined with this heat wave, we might see power plants throttling back or curtailing their power output to avoid overheating the water,” said Dr. Michael Webber, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.
- Tips for power and water consumers during drought
According to Dr. Michael Webber and Ashlynn Stillwell at The University of Texas at Austin, the best tip for consumers to keep in mind is that “Saving electricity saves water.”
- Prepared for the drought, El Paso leads the way in reclaimed water
For El Paso, the answer was not only aggressively conserving water, but also reclaiming wastewater. The thought of recycling treated wastewater may sound unglamorous, but as Texas is sinking further into a disastrous drought, El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) is receiving an abundance of positive attention for its reclaimed water program.
- Drought Preparedness Council works to protect Texas
The Drought Preparedness Council, authorized and established by the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999, is charged with supporting drought management efforts in the state.