Texas A&M Forest Service Urges Public to be Cautious with Outdoor Activities This 4th of July

June 30, 2020 - As Texans make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July, Texas A&M Forest Service encourages everyone to be careful with any activity that may cause a spark.

Approximately 90 percent of wildfires are caused by humans and their activities, and Independence Day is one of the top days for reported wildfires.

“We encourage everyone to be cautious with fireworks and outdoor activities this holiday,” said Bruce Woods, Texas A&M Forest Service Mitigation and Prevention Department Head. “Dry conditions can quickly turn an unattended spark into a wildfire.”

Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire officials are advising the public to be aware of the drying conditions returning this week that may contribute to rapidly growing wildfires. Hot and dry weather conditions reduce the moisture content in grass and woody vegetation, which increases the potential for wildfire ignitions. Any ongoing green up from recent rainfalls will likely fade.

“Help our heroes this Fourth of July holiday, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Mitigation and Prevention Department Program Coordinator. “Continue to help our firefighters limit exposure by preventing wildfires and being safe with your outdoor activities. Remember to do your part, and don’t let a wildfire start.”

To help prevent wildfires, follow these tips:

  • Follow local burn regulations and be cautious with outdoor activities that may cause a spark. Check local restrictions regarding fireworks and use caution if you intend to use them this weekend.
  • Avoid using fireworks around dry vegetation and always keep a water source nearby.
  • Avoid parking and idling in tall, dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass under a vehicle.
  • Be sure chains and other metal parts aren't dragging from your vehicle- they throw sparks.
  • Avoid placing your grill near flammable vegetation or materials, never leave your grill unattended, and ensure coals are completely extinguished when you are done.
  • If using firearms, avoid shooting at rocks or metal objects as these can cause sparks, and avoid shooting into dry grass or vegetation. Know your ammunition; tracer and full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition have a high potential to cause sparks.

Visit the Texas A&M Forest Service Wildfire Education & Prevention Facebook page, @wildfireeducation.prevention, or tfsweb.tamu.edu for more information and tips on how to prevent wildfires.

Note: Burn bans and fireworks restrictions are determined by county government. Texas A&M Forest Service does not take a position on the use of fireworks, nor does the agency determine, set or lift restrictions.