Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fire Hazard in Montgomery County continues

How long does it take for water to reach the leaves of a pine tree 80 feet high suffering from a bad drought? It takes thirteen hours! How long does it take for dried grass to become a fire hazard after a rain? Less than two days! Can we lay down our guard and celebrate that the drought is over? I hardly think so. The hardwoods and green underbrush was quenched of thirst before anything else. Remember, the pines use a different means to transport water than do the hardwoods. Dry pines are very dangerous, so having the dried grass and small plants as fuel for a forest fire, we sit on kindling that starts a forest fire. What three things at this time of the year primarily cause fires? Smoking tobacco and flicking our the ashes is the prime cause, but fireworks often cause more loss than does cigarettes. Remember Atascosita this year, just three days ago. A house burned down there on the fourth from stray fireworks. Here in The Woodlands, residents apparently and thankfully observed the county ban and respected the covenants to not use any fireworks in the Township. Third is of course natural - lightening, and that is rare when we have no rain. OK, we had that threat this morning also. I measured one inch of rain, enough to water the lawn for about a week. Our trees are drinking right now! They can already resist fire to some extent. I expect the drought index to lower quickly. However, the damage already done is extensive, and there is a great deal of kindling out there from the hurricane and the drought, a bad combination.

Yesterday, before the rain, our drought index registered over 700, up from 600 just two weeks ago. At 600, we are in a fire hazard area. Although the holiday weekend is over, the county restriction on skyrockets and missile fireworks will remain in effect as previously ordered by Commissioner’s Court. A ban on outdoor burning remains in effect, and the Fire Marshal’s Office asks that residents refrain from shooting off any leftover fireworks until conditions improve, county-wide.

During the July 4th holiday, there was a significant spike in wildfires in Montgomery County, culminating in nearly 30 reported fires on Saturday July 4th. Between 7 PM and Midnight, twenty wildfires were reported. Many of the 911 callers indicated that the fires had started from fireworks. Most of the fires this weekend were quickly contained by firefighters, as many County Fire Departments had placed additional firefighters on duty over the Holiday. The largest fire this weekend occurred in the area near where Harris, Montgomery and Liberty counties meet East of New Caney. This fire was estimated at 45 acres and 11 Montgomery County units responded to assist the Huffman Fire Department at that fire.

So please be careful with your smoking habit and put out your ashes in the place you have inside of your automobile, not flicked outside where the risk of fire can cause hundreds of thousands dollar damages. Please do not explode firecrackers. Certain ones such as bottle rockets are banned. Please observe the law.

Firechief Alan Benson reminds residents that the danger is not over yet.


Unknown said...

Hi, my name is Bob Gunner and I am the editor & publisher of http://thepapermagazine.com , enjoy the blog and if you don't mind, I will post a link back to it from time to time when I think the community should read something that is timely? I invite everyone in the Woodlands, Spring, Conroe & North Houston to stop by and visit The Paper as well. Have a great day!

indianspringsguy said...

Bob, not a problem and in fact, I welcome it. Email me and maybe we can work out some sort of partnership in the future.