Fear the flame

Everyone in this part of the world eventually learns the subgenre of “fire weather,” a phenomenon that comes with dry air and high winds. Even the slightest spark, from whatever source, suddenly turns into a Major Blaze, and if the conditions are going to persist for a while, you’re likely to see a burn ban.

I was never quite sure how they actually quantified it, but this NWS graphic reveals the scale:

I’ve been here about forty years, and I don’t remember “historic” being used in this context. Which is probably a good thing.

The standard NWS term for those Texas counties is “Western North Texas,” the sort of description you’d need in a place the size of Texas; if you say “northwest Texas,” I start thinking the Panhandle and Amarillo.


  1. fillyjonk »

    31 January 2016 · 6:30 am

    Recently, a man a couple towns over died when a grass fire got out of hand (he was trying to fight it, apparently fell and was unable to get away).

    I tell my students who are volunteer firefighters they have blanket permission to leave class, no questions asked, no penalty, if they get called out. It happens. (They also have blanket permission to leave cell phones on – normally a no no – if they are on call)

  2. McGehee »

    31 January 2016 · 10:17 am

    I remember being temporarily confused that DFW and Wichita Falls were considered “North Texas” while Lubbock and Amarillo were “West Texas.” Then I remembered that the “Middle West” of the U.S. isn’t Colorado (a.k.a., the middle of “The West”).

    I kind of like the idea that almost half of a state the size of Texas is regarded almost as an annexation: “This over here is Texas, that over there is More Texas.”

  3. CGHill »

    31 January 2016 · 11:15 am

    The most telling thing about Texas, to me, is that’s it’s farther from Orange, hard by the Sabine River which separates Texas from Louisiana, to El Paso, than it is from El Paso to San Diego, California.

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