Lufkin, TX — The U.S. Forest Service on Monday announced a ban against open campfires, charcoal fires gas and propane grills, stoves and lanterns anywhere in the Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston national forests. Smoking in the national forests is permitted only in an enclosed vehicle or building, and fireworks are also prohibited.
“This is a critical time for the forests, and it’s important that people be watchful for wildfires and call local fire authorities as soon as a fire is spotted,” U.S. Forest Supervisor Linda Brett said. “We need help from our visitors and neighbors in the surrounding communities to ensure that the forests and those on adjacent lands are safe from careless wildfires.”
In spite of heavy rainfall last week, Texas Forest Service officials warned of continued fire danger Monday.
Thanks in part to last week’s rain, the Power Line Fire in Jasper County was completely contained and the Bearing Fire in Trinity and Polk counties sat at 97 percent containment Monday, according to Texas Forest Service Prevention Officer Jan Amen.
“There were two new fires reported in the west over the weekend, but nothing new in East Texas,” Amen said. “The rain brought us a period where we don’t have to worry as much but it still did not end the drought.”
Since November, 3,268,011 acres of Texas forests have been lost to wildfires, Amen said.
“Of that we’ve been able to save 29,716 homes and lost 548 homes,” she said. “Losing 548 homes is bad, but when you look at how many have been saved, it puts things in perspective.”
Amen went on to note that 232 out of Texas’ 254 counties are under a burn ban, calling that a “good thing.” Last week, Angelina County commissioners decided to extend their county’s burn ban. There is also a fireworks ban under way in Angelina County.
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