HOUSTON – As a hot high-pressure center continues to bake much of the state of Texas, forest service officials from Texas A&M University are concerned that the combination of continued dry weather, drought conditions and expected confidence in seeing a La Nina pattern set up for the southern United States could place Texas in a hot spot for wildfire development late this summer.
The combination of dry fuels (think of these as the dry brush, sticks, dead trees, and things along the ground that can ignite quickly) and hot high pressure that will continue to keep humidity levels across much of the Hill Country less than 20% and temperatures approaching 100+.
Any spark from either lighting or carelessness from humans can lead to a rapid spread in wildfire development.
One thing forecasters are also watching as we head into the late summer and fall is the increasingly confident forecast that much of the southern half of the US will be under the influence of a strong La Nina pattern going into the Fall. For Texas, a La Nina pattern generally leads to a warmer and drier Fall and Winter as the jet stream from Canada stays further north into the Plains and we miss out on the cooler, wetter storms that come during that period. If that continues, the late summer/early fall wildfire season could be off to a quick start. Something to watch as we head into September!