News Alert: If you have seen rain, you could still see fire

LUFKIN, Texas – Although East Texas has seen sporadic rainfall over the past several days, Texas Forest Service officials are cautioning residents that fire danger still exists throughout the state.

The National Drought Monitor shows most of Texas at the highest intensity level registered for drought. State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has said this is one of the worst droughts in recorded Texas history, which dates back to 1895.

The drought has devastated land and forestry this year and aided in creating conditions that are ripe for wildfires. Since fire season began Nov. 15, 2010, more than 15,700 fires have burned 3.4 million acres in Texas.

“The effects of the rainfall we’ve seen lately are going to be very short-term,” said Tom Spencer, predictive services department head for Texas Forest Service.

All but seven of the state’s 254 counties remain under outdoor burning bans. With 90 percent of wildfires caused by humans, Texas Forest Service continues to urge Texans to use caution when doing anything outdoors that could cause a spark.

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