Potential wildfires becoming concern in Cameron County

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POSTED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 5:18pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 9:40am

The extreme heat in Cameron County is just something that comes along with summer. But that heat mixed with a prolongued lack of rainfall can ultimately result in brushfires, or in extreme cases, wildfires.

And as of late, forecasters in Cameron County have been on the lookout for these "danger zones".

"When the temperature gets pretty hot in the summer months, we do see a rise in grass fires and wildfires," said Brownsville Fire Department Captain Luis Guerrero.

"Humidity and winds tend to maximize in Cameron County across the Western half, generally west of the highway, west of Brownsville and Harlingen, but some weather patterns can allow the dry air to come all the way east towards the coast," said National Weather Service warning coordination meterologist Barry Goldsmith.

Most of these fires strike in barren areas where the grass is unkempt.

"Usually where we see the majority of the grass fires in underdeveloped communities where Cameron County meets the city," said Guerrero.

"The lower the grass, the less available fuel there is to spread that fire quickly," said Goldsmith.

But it just takes one spark for the fire to take off.  The only wildfires that start because of mother nature are the lightning strike fires. But fortunately for RGV citizens, those are typically followed up with a sufficient amount of rainfall.

In the event of a wildfire, firefighters use this red line as their first weapon of choice.

But for those who live within city limits, these fires aren't too threatening.

"The good thing about Brownsville is that there's not a lot of areas left for grass fires in the city," said Guerrero. "Only in the county area, Cameron County."

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