Texas Heat blamed for Wildfires and Health Concerns

Triple digit temperatures, low humidity and extreme drought conditions across much of Texas have firefighters battling wildfires and residents doing their best to escape the heat.

The state’s largest wildfire, the Harmon Road Fire, continues to burn in Coryell County where more than 5,000 acres has charred. Firefighters continue to try and control blazes in Brown, Burnet, Hood, Nolan and Llano Counties.

Nick Harrison with the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) says the extremely hot temperatures and dry conditions arrived much sooner than expected this summer.

“We’re not seeing the humidity recover at night, which would help firefighters, and the continued dry, hot conditions have placed most of Texas west of IH 35 in a critical fire state,” said Harrison.

The high temperatures across the state also mean increased health risks for many Texans. You should avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day and drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic liquids to stay hydrated.

In addition, children, the elderly, and outdoor workers are particularly vulnerable in this extreme heat. Do not leave children, pets, or anyone with limited mobility, inside a vehicle, even if for a short time, as just a few minutes may be fatal.

The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) cautions every Texan to avoid a heat stroke or heat exhaustion while conducting any type of outdoor activity. If you are in the heat too long, you should watch for these signs of a possible heat stroke or heat exhaustion:

Absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin rapid pulse difficulty breathing strange behavior hallucinations confusion

Other common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and sometimes loss of consciousness or coma. If you suspect someone has had a heat stroke, you are urged to call 911.

The National Weather Service offers these heat safety tips and resources to deal with the current heat wave https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat

Good news, however, may be on the way, as a spokesperson for the National Weather Service points toward a slight change in the weather.

“We should see the extremely high temperatures cool down to more seasonable levels for the rest of the week,” says Lamont Bain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “Rain chances will improve next week and the high temperatures are expected to return to the mid 90s.”