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7:00 a.m. newscast August 22, 2023

The National Weather Service in Shreveport, Louisiana has issued a Red Flag Warning for northeast Texas along with northern and central Louisiana until 8 o’clock Tuesday night. This means extreme fire conditions will be present in the area because of strong winds, low humidity and dry vegetation. In fact, the warning was issued just hours before a reported explosion at the scene of the clear lake wildfire in Panola County, Texas that torched about 750-acres on Monday afternoon. KLTV’s Jamey Boyum reported from the scene as crews worked to contain the fire. “The forest service and other firefighters are out here right now working this line to  make sure this dirt road stays nice and wide so the fire is contained to this area here.” The National Weather Service says the Red Flag Warning extends to all areas near and south of the I-20 corridor. Winds of ten to fifteen miles per hour, a relative humidity of twenty to twenty-five percent and temperatures of 103 to 107 degrees mean that rapid ignition and spread of wildfires is possible.
       Firefighters across the listening area have been deployed to help fight the growing number of grass and woods fires. There are currently 197 Texas counties with burn bans In place. That includes Bowie, Cass and Morris counties. A burn ban is also in effect for Miller County, Arkansas. In Texarkana, Texas fire officials are urging residents to avoid burning anything right now, even if there is no active burn ban in their immediate area because the fire risks are simply too great with our current conditions.
When those fires happen, the U.S. Forest Service is often a part of the response process, coordinating efforts from Louisiana’s Pineville-based Interagency Coordination Center. The Center provides around-the-clock dispatchers who take calls, arrange resources and personnel to respond to active scenes and keep information about active fires up-to-date. On staff is also a fire management planning specialist who keeps track of changing weather conditions that inform Kisatchie National Forest’s fire response plan. That includes Doug  Currie, the forest fire managing officer for Kisatchie. “With those conditions, if we were to have a fire, a large fire growth would be expected.”
The National Weather Service (NWS), has also announced that severe and extreme drought conditions have developed across lower East Texas and portions of North Louisiana.