Special to the Reporter

The Texas Forest Service has issued red flag warnings, cautioning that conditions are "ideal" for wildfires to ignite in Somervell County, as well as a wide area from Mineral Wells to east of Dallas-Fort Worth and south to Waco.

Somervell County currently has a burn ban in force.

A combination of high winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures mean a high fire danger, the forest service said. Those conditions are expected to last for the next couple of months.

When red flag conditions exist, wildfire can spread at a rate of 4 miles per hour, the equivalent of a wildfire burning the length of a football field in one minute, according to the service. Additionally, flame lengths in grass could reach 12 to 14 feet, or the equivalent of a one-story building.

Texas Forest Service has staged resources, including bulldozers, fire engines and aircraft, to respond to the potential threat.

In one week alone this month, the Texas Forest Service has responded to 72 fires burning 2,298 acres. Of Texas’ 254 counties, 177 are reporting burn bans.

Several recent fires, such as the massive blaze that started in Bosque County on March 11 and spread to Somervell County, have been caused by outdoor debris burning.

Residents throughout the state of Texas should avoid outdoor activities that could generate a spark or open flames, the forest service warned. Clear combustible materials away from homes and refrain from outdoor burning until the fire threat decreases and burn bans are lifted.

Families should discuss a plan for evacuation and monitor the current wildfire situation through the Texas Forest Service website.