Fire safety important for hunters and outdoorsmen
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With Texas still mired in a record-breaking drought and no real relief in sight, hunters and other outdoorsmen must be especially careful when heading out to take part in their favorite pastimes.
Dangerous wildfire conditions are expected through the fall and into the winter, which means a wildfire easily could be ignited by just one spark from an unattended campfire, lit cigarette, muzzle of a gun or even a hot exhaust pipe on a car left running — or parked — on the side of the road.
“You should always take wildfire conditions into consideration when you’re doing anything outside that could cause a spark — especially with vegetation as critically dry as it is right now,” said Justice Jones, coordinator for the Wildland Urban Interface and Fire Prevention programs. “If you start an accidental wildfire, the camp you destroy may be your own.”
Though hunting season already has kicked off, hunters aren’t the only people who should take precautions. All outdoorsmen should keep fire safety in mind as conditions remain ripe for massive, unwieldy wildfires.
"Roughly 90 percent of fires in Texas are started accidentally by people,” Jones said. “That means they’re preventable. And that’s just what we want people to do – prevent them.”
If you’re heading outside, keep in mind the following wildfire safety tips:
- Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t build a fire during dry or windy conditions.
- Drive only on designated trails. Don’t park or idle vehicles in dry grass, which can be ignited by contact with a hot muffler.
- When shooting close to the ground, be sure there is no dry grass or tinder in front of your muzzle. Though rare, it’s not impossible for a shot to ignite nearby tinder.
- Use caution with cigarettes and matches.
- Use spark arresters on all power equipment.
For more information, visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu.