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Fri February 1, 2008
Hunt County fire danger to be discussed Saturday
By Bill Oliver
Commerce, TX –
With no relief in sight from dry and windy weather conditions, Hunt County fire chiefs from paid and volunteer departments are meeting Saturday morning to prepare for wildfires. The gathering is in the Commerce Police/Fire Department Emergency Operations beginning at 9:45 a.m.
Hunt County Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Hill and County Judge John Horn have asked all volunteer and paid fire departments be at the highest state of readiness. In addition, Hill and Horn are asking that local leaders encourage employers who have employees that are members of volunteer departments to allow their workers to respond when called.
Hunt County has a burn ban in place which prohibits all outside burning other than welding, cutting and cooking. However, due to the current threat, state and county officials are requesting that welding, cutting and outdoor cooking be curtailed.
Hill, Commerce Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Harrison, and Assistant Coordinator Tommy Eaton participated in a statewide conference call held by Chief Jack Colley of the Governor's Division of Emergency Management, stating that 152 counties in the state have been placed at a Level 1 State of Emergency. Hunt County is included in this threat and it is increasing daily with Tuesday of next week being the highest threat date.
Charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army personnel are busy throughout the state and due to the conditions have limited resources. State and county officials ask that local citizens support these organizations and their efforts as needed.
Multiple and continuous cold fronts across a wide area of the state characterized by extremely high winds and record low humidity have created optimum conditions for numerous spontaneous and violent wildfires. In the last 24-36 hour period over 70,000 acres have been burned destroying in excess of 60 structures. Over 75 fires remain active at this time. Extreme wildfire conditions are expected to remain through the end of next week.