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Fire in Spring? How Did We Get Here?

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The wettest months of the year are in Spring. Instead, here in late March, it is all about the critical fire danger north Texas is facing. How did we get here?

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Well, this problem started last Fall. Since September, DFW has recorded only about half of normal rainfall. Most of north Texas is in SEVERE or EXTREME drought:

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We are also experiencing well above normal temperatures. This warmer air continues to make fire conditions worse by drying out the ground and vegetation even more.

The air itself is actually very dry, single-digit relative humidity covers a large portion of our area this afternoon. This also draws moisture from plants and soil making everything tinder dry:

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The biggest enemy in this set-up is the wind. Steady SSW winds will blow today, fanning any flames and pushing the fire along the landscape. With windy and dry conditions like this, it is near impossible to contain a grassfire. Today's wind will NOT bring in higher humidity from the Gulf of Mexico. That green line you see along the coast represents a dewpoint of 60 degrees (muggy air). It stays well to our southeast.

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The combination of all these conditions translates to a RED FLAG WARNING for the western half of north Texas. It does NOT include most of the Metroplex but does include Johnson and Parker counties.

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Burn bans are in place in the warned areas meaning outdoor fires are not allowed. Please be careful with cigarette butts, dragging chains (sparks)  and parking in tall grass (your tailpipe can ignite the grass). Hold off on grilling today.

The winds are expected to be stronger tomorrow and Tuesday. Dewpoints will rise which will help, but the biggest help of all arrives Tuesday night with the promise of some much needed rain.

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