How the Summer Drought Affected Central Texas

Central Texas is still struggling to recover from the most recent drought. Residents experienced an unprecedented heatwave that brought record-breaking temperatures to the area. As the sun kept beating down, businesses, landscapers, firefighters, and residents were all forced to adapt to the scorching conditions.

The blistering temperatures had a profound impact on business and landscapers in San Marcos. With the heat came a surge in demand for cooling products and services.

Air conditioning repair companies, ice cream shops and swimming pool maintenance services experienced a significant increase in customers seeking relief from the sweltering conditions. Rhea’s Ice Cream shop staff Haley Huang said it was the busiest summer she’s worked at the shop.

“We almost doubled our sales from last year, as painfully hot as it was, it was good for the business,” said Huang.

Meanwhile, landscapers faced the daunting task of keeping lawns and garden alive amidst the scorching heat.

To mitigate the damage caused by extreme temperatures, business and landscapers had to adapt their work practices. Landscapers implemented water-saving techniques such as xeriscaping and using drought-resistant plants to conserve water and maintain green spaces. Joe Natishak explains some of the changes they had to make to their landscaping business.

“We’ve had to adjust our choices by recommending drought tolerant plants and also educating our clients on it, ” said Natishak.

These adaptations not only helped businesses survive the heatwave but also promoted environmental sustainability by promoting plants that don’t need as much water.

The Role of Firefighters in Battling Wildfires
As the temperatures rose, the risk of wildfires became a concern in the Central Texas area. Dry vegetation, strong winds and hot temperatures create the perfect conditions for wildfires to spread. Firefighters played a crucial role responding and combating wildfires protecting the lives and properties of residents. Putting out fires is very time consuming. On August 9th a 200-acre fire in Caldwell County took just under 12 hours to be fully contained after the fire was reported. According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, a total of 59 fires have burned around 4,000 acres in the Central Texas area.

The Hays County Office of Emergency Services helped coordinate firefighter efforts and communication among the various fire stations. Firefighters worked many hours batting the blazes and preventing them from spreading further. The Hays County Office of Emergency Services also updates the residents on current burn bans, and areas to avoid when there is an active wildfire. People can also find resources on their website on how to create a defensible space against wildfires.

On August 5th, the Oak Grove fire in Hays County burned nearly 400 acres and destroyed the home of Michael Hinz.

“I never imagined this because it was so green all the time. And we moved out here in 1978, and there was really nothing much between here and town. This was about 11 acres that we had, but it was quiet,” Hinz said. “We made a lot of memories.”

The Hinz family is currently rebuilding their house in the same property, they are expected to be done within the next 2 years.

Tips to Prevent Wildfires
Prevention is key when it comes to wildfires, and the residents of Central Texas took proactive measures to minimize the risk. By following the advice of experts, they were able to protect their homes and their surrounding environment. Texas A&M Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, and the American Red Cross recommend to:
  1. Clear dry vegetation and debris from around your home to create a defensible space.
  2. Properly dispose of cigarette butts in designated containers.
  3. Avoid using fireworks in areas prone to wildfires, especially during dry and windy conditions.
  4. Use caution when operating equipment that can generate sparks, such as chainsaws or lawnmowers.
  5. Follow local regulations for outdoor burning and obtain necessary permits.
  6. Never leave campfires unattended and fully extinguish them before leaving the area.
  7. Exercise caution when using outdoor cooking equipment, ensuring that it is placed away from flammable materials.
  8. Report any signs of wildfires immediately to the authorities to enable swift response and containment.
  9. Educate yourself and others about wildfire safety, including evacuation procedures and emergency contact information.

For the remainder of the year, we are expected to return to cold temperatures like last year’s winter. For next year, businesses will make sure that they have enough supplies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *