COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Hot months, changing humidity and increasing temperatures are a dangerous combination for wildfires.
Just in the last week, Texas A&M resources have responded to more than 21 fires that spread over 21 thousand acres. A&M Forest Service says most wildfires are actually human caused.
“A lot of those are accidental, so things like debris burning left unattended or pulling over on tall grass and your catalytic converter getting hot enough to ignite the grass. So the majority of fires are human caused, most of those being accidental, which means they are preventable," said Texas A&M Forest Service PIO Kari Hines
She added that anything you do outdoors that produces heat has the potential to start a fire.
“If you are hitting rocks with your metal blade, you can create sparks that start a fire. If you are BBQ-ing in the backyard, that can start a fire. Make sure you are disposing your coals correctly. When you drive down the road, you might have chains dragging, metal hitting the road, if you pull over in tall grass, those are all things that create heat and that can start a fire," said Hines.
With the addition of COVID-19 on top of wildfire season, having enough resources to battle the fires and provide for the victims is proving to be difficult.
“With COVID-19, it obviously presents an unprecedented challenge for us here at the Red Cross, specifically that our current work force or our historical work force is in the vulnerable age category. So we can’t necessarily expect and rely on our existing volunteer base to respond during disasters in this time. So we’re always looking for more volunteers," said American Red Cross of Central and South Texas Disaster program manager Michael Halfen.
The local American Red Cross says being prepared is key to your safety and health.
“It’s parking your car in the right direction, being ready to evacuate, especially with your pets. What we see that delays people from evacuating are needed items like prescribed medications or glasses or special things that you would need in an event of evacuation," said American Red Cross of Central and South Texas executive director AJ Renold.
In the case of a fire, American Red Cross is present to provide shelter and food to the victims.
If you are interested in volunteering with the local American Red Cross, you can sign up HERE, or email the disaster program manager at email@example.com.