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90% of wildfires in Texas are caused by humans

The Texas A&M Forest Service said of the human-caused fires, half of them are caused by debris burning or equipment.

AUSTIN, Texas — With multiple fires burning in Central Texas this week, we wanted to learn the most common causes in order to help prevent them from starting.

This year, we have seen more wildfires than in recent years, but the fires have luckily burned less acreage because they were caught earlier.

"Texas A&M Forest Service has responded to over 7,600 wildfires for almost 627,000 acres," said Kari Hines, project coordinator with Texas A&M Forest Service.

Hines said that 90% of the wildfires in Texas are human-caused.

"That does not mean that they're all malicious, but the majority of them are preventable," said Hines.

She said of the human-caused fires, more than 50% are caused by debris burning and equipment.

"Think lawn mowers, welding, driving a vehicle, pulling a trailer," said Hines of some of the possible uses of equipment that cause fires.

When it comes to the debris burning, most Texas counties are under burn bans, so that shouldn’t be happening anyhow.

"Depending on the county that you're in, they might also have further classifications of what isn't allowed," said Hines. "Sometimes they become much more strict with things like no outdoor welding and other classifications like that."

Statistics from the Texas A&M Forest Service show 80% of wildfires happen within two miles of a community. Hine said the idea that most wildfires are rural is false.

"Because we know that humans start the majority of our wildfires, that means most of them are closer to areas of human population," said Hines.

In order to protect both people and land, she said we all need to be taking precautions.

"Anything that produces heat or that can cause a spark can cause a wildfire," said Hines.


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