November is typically one of Central Texas’ wetter months, but for just the fourth time in recorded history, Austin has not seen one drop of rain this month—a fact that has local firefighters worried.
Firefighters say our current weather pattern is eerily similar to what lead to the Labor Day fires in 2011. The scorching heat is the only factor missing
"What happened last year that made the situation so dangerous was that the rain, it fell so sporadically, and it would fall just enough to grow up all the vegetation,” Lt. Kyle Swarts with the Pedernales Fire Department said. “Then it wouldn't rain for a month for two, and so everything would dry out and die."
The dried vegetation is prime food for fires and Lt. Swarts said it’s all over Central Texas right now.
"The drought monitor index says we're in a moderate drought. Not nearly as bad as where we were at last year, but conditions are still very dry and it's still a very serious situation,” he said.
Wildfire awareness has greatly increased since last year’s devastating fires, according to Lt. Swarts.
"We've not seen the number of calls that we saw last year because I think people are being more vigilant," he said. "Make sure you have a spotter when you're welding. Try to avoid chains dragging behind your trailers when you're driving down the road."
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Travis County is in moderate drought right now. The rest of Central Texas ranges from abnormal to severe drought conditions.