Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wildfires and Drought



The wildfires in Texas and here in Oklahoma are complicated by the exceptionally severe drought both states are undergoing. The following graphic and text are from the U.S. Drought Monitor website:

(click for larger image)

Southern Plains: Conditions continue to remain bleak in Oklahoma and Texas with very little help being seen on the horizon after the near miss of Tropical Storm Lee. The only change of note in Oklahoma, as noted above, was in the filling in of D2 completely within the northeastern corner as it meshes with the expansion of D2 in southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri given the oppressive heat, high winds and lack of any significant rains the past few weeks. 
Texas also sees very little change this week with only a small area of the Texas Panhandle moving from D2 to D3. The big story has been the fires in Texas though, which were fanned by the backside winds of TS Lee. Year-to-date, 18,719 fires have burned over 3.5 million acres resulting in 2,897 structure losses according to the Texas Forest Service. The 3.5 million total Texas acres burned represents over 50% of the national total acres burned. In addition, 96% of Texas’s pasture and rangelands are rated as “Poor” or “Very Poor” while Oklahoma shows 90% in this category.

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