The grass is high and drying down, the winds are blowing, and UNUSUAL lightning storms are taking place – conditions are right and all it will take is a spark to set off a repeat of the 2006 wildfire season. "It’s setting up to be that kind of year again. We’ve had so much rain, a lot of moisture, and have grown a lot of grass." Due to drought conditions, some areas don’t have that many cows grazing, which has left a lot of dry grass or fuel standing in pastures. "If it turns off dry or with an early frost, it is setting us up to have another fire season like we had in 2006 and 2007." Already the Panhandle and South Plains area have seen a number of fires touched off by lightning this fall, which is a little UNUSUAL. A fire on Oct. 18 burned more than 20,000 acres of grassland in Deaf Smith County. This combination of conditions has led to increased fire weather concerns across Oklahoma and portions of western North Texas, as well as eastern New Mexico and across the Texas Panhandle. Wildfires are not just a problem for rural homeowners and ranchers; during the last two years, 85 percent of the wildfires in Texas have occurred within two miles of a community.
Adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, plants are gradually moving to where temperatures are cooler, rainfall is greater, f...