BUSHLAND, TX (KFDA) - In recent years, our wildfire seasons have been very active and, at times, very devastating. This year, there is hope that recent weather conditions may be working in our favor to reduce some of the threat as we see in this edition of "Good News With Doppler Dave'.
The term ‘right as rain’ certainly rings true for us and the results of this week’s rain is nicely visible today with standing water and greener vegetation. Much of our area was fortunate enough to receive more than an inch of rain from our recent event. In fact, in my rain gauge, I was blessed with 1.41 inches.
I checked in with Steve Evett of the Agricultural Research Service in Bushland about the impact of our recent rain.
According to Steve, “We got a lot of water into the soil. It was nice and slow. It was a little bit more than an inch out here--1.2 inches and all of that went into the soil. It was nice slow rain so it really penetrated well.”
I noticed that after the rain, we are at least starting to see some green and I asked how that will effect our fire season.
“Well, what we have here is the buffalo grass which is still brown,” Evett pointed out. “But we have some forage too that are already getting green. Out in the grassland that is adjacent to here, we will see some of that sprout down below the dead grass, we will start to get sprouts. You can already see that in some areas, so that is going to give us some more green growth. For the next few days, a week or so, that wetness and that green growth will inhibit fire.”
Even though our area still experienced a few fires, yesterday could have been an absolutely catastrophic fire day had we not had the rain beforehand.
Firefighter Jered Meeks explained, " Vegetation moisture is a big deal. If we hadn’t had that rain and then experienced that wind we had yesterday, it could have been a very different day. The chance of ignition on all of the vegetation was much less than it could have been. It could have been almost 100 percent probability of ignition."
This rain could be a turning point in the fire season, but the experts are clear that this will only be the case if additional rain is on the horizon.
Firefighter Meeks informed me, "If we continue to have these windy days, this moisture the ground is holding right now is not going to stay very long. It will dry out pretty quick and we will back to very dangerous potential conditions."
“As we proceed into the season, if we don’t get more rain we are just adding fuel because that will eventually dry,” Evett added. “So, the near term prognosis is pretty good, but in the long term we need more rain if we are going to keep the green vegetation going.”
Our rain came at a very good time; right in the middle of fire season. It’s nice to see the area greening up--that’s good news. But pray that the rain keeps coming--that would be even better news!