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Hot, Dry Conditions = Increased North Texas Grass Fire Risk

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ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - A dozen North Texas counties have declared burn bans as foliage and area residents wither during a long, dry summer.

"We put water on our yard but it's like having a heat lamp over your yard," said homeowner Dana Story. "It burns into the grass."

Like a lot of North Texans, Story can't beat nearly 40 days of hot dry weather. Texas has dried into a tinder box despite all those late spring rains.

"It was nice when we had it, but now it's gone So, now it's back to reality," said Arlington Fire Department spokesman Lee Tovar.

And the reality is the fire hazards become more dangerous with each dry, hot day.

Arlington firefighters are already running on more grass fire calls. "It's definitely picked up the last couple of weeks," Tovar said. "We probably had twice as many calls in the first two weeks of August as we did in July. It's a lot."

In such dry conditions any number of things can spark fires. Passing trains on the train tracks, a partially extinguished cigarette.

"People don't realize even driving over grass, dry grass, the heat of the muffler could easily ignite the grass," Tovar said.

With Texas baking in the heat, even something simple like barbecuing some burgers is hazardous.

"I've been wanting to cook out," Story said. "May we had the rain and I couldn't cook out. Now we got these dry conditions and you don't want any type of spark to fall in the yard and start any type of fire."

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