ABILENE, Texas - 2012 was a slow wildfire year for West Texas, but there's no guarantee that 2013 will be the same.
Even in quiet times, like the Big Country is seeing now, the Texas A&M Forest Service fire base in Merkel isn't letting its guard down.
"The guys are continuing their training that's federally mandated or state mandated" says Phillip Truitt, Wildland Urban Interface Specialist with the Texas A&M Forest Service.
To do this, they attend courses like the Central Texas Wildland Academy recently held at Camp Bowie, near Brownwood.
They also maintains it's larger equipment, like the four D6 Bulldozers they own.
These bulldozers help fight fires by clearing a perimeter around the burn. By taking away the fuels, it keeps the fire from spreading.
As far as the outlook for this year goes?
"It's all going to depend on the weather and the fuels, the current update for the weather looks like it's going to be a little drier and a little hotter than average this summer", says Truitt.
While it's hard to prevent where and when a fire will break out, you can be proactive when it comes to protecting your home.
Sites like http://www.texaswildfirerisk.com can help you assess your home's wildfire risk based on current weather and fuel conditions.
You can also go to sites like http://www.firewise.org to find tips on how to keep your home protected.
These tips include keeping your lawn cut and watered, disposing of debris or grass clippings, and properly storing flammable materials.
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