LAKEWAY (KXAN) - The perfect combination of low humidity, gusty winds and dry brush mean fire danger is Central Texas will be high heading into Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning in effect until Thursday afternoon.
"We most certainly can have fires this time of year," said Assistant Chief John Durham, of the Lake Travis Fire and Rescue. "With the frontal passages that quite often don't have any precipitation with them, they do bring lower humidity and wind events with them."
Tuesday night, a fire broke out on this hillside just south of Mansfield Dam and threatened the homes at the peak.
"Neighbors heard what they thought was a couple of pops then a loud boom," said Durham.
Crews quickly contained the blaze, but after combing through the area again Wednesday afternoon, they found an area still smoldering. Had the winds been stronger, the fire could have escalated.
"Had the fire during the middle of the afternoon or the winds were a little more gusty," said Durham. "The relative humidity was a little lower the fire probably would have spread up the slope like that a little quicker."
Already breezy Wednesday evening, the folks at American Fireworks on FM 620 say they just want people to stay safe.
"We recommend you do it in an area that's not really grassy or real dry and especially where there's not a ban on them, city limits," said Morgan.
American Fireworks officially opens for business Thursday. But with very dry conditions, there are certain kinds of fireworks you won't find on their shelves. Travis County outlawed rockets with sticks and missiles with fins.
"We'd prefer that folks just didn't do fireworks if they can keep from it at all, but there are some rules some precautions that we'd like people to take if they absolutely need to celebrate the New Year with fireworks," said Durham.
The Travis County Fire Marshals' office recommends following these safety tips:
• Do not consume alcohol and use fireworks because it's a dangerous combination.
• Do not use fireworks on high fire danger days, such as red flag days.
• To detonate fireworks, find a flat surface, away from buildings, dry leaves and grass.
• Have water on hand in case of a fire.
• Insist on adult supervision when buying or setting off fireworks.
• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Never try to re-Iight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Never give fireworks to small children; even sparklers can cause serious burns.
American Fireworks contacted the KXAN Newsroom Thursday morning. They are suspending sales Thursday due to the high winds.
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