It's not a secret that the weather here in Central Texas is ridiculously hot and dry. You could fry an egg on the sidewalk right now, and I'm not even joking. I've done it.

With dry, hot conditions and high winds, it's the perfect weather for fires that get out of hand. In fact, Fort Hood had to battle two massive fires earlier this week.

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Forest fire in progress
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Once the summer heat sets in, we'd rather be thinking about family trips to the lake or water parks, but we ought to also be thinking about how easily a fire can get out of control.

You could be driving and flick a cigarette out of your window, or you could forget to make sure your campfire or coals are fully extinguished. Whatever the case, we have a responsibility to make sure we're not the ones who start a massive fire that get out of control and destroy people's homes and lives.

So, what can we do to make safety easy so we remember to do it and it doesn't ruin our fun? Well...

Bushfire in outback Australia
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Here are just a few tips for helping prevent wildfires in our area.

-Don't throw your cigarette butts out of your car window. Seriously - don't. Not only is it gross and illegal, but a spark from that spent cig could light up dry grass nearby. One second of carelessness on your part could get people killed.

-If you go camping, make sure your fire is at least 25 feet from structures, trees, tents, etc. and that it's not under any overhanging branches. Never leave the fire unattended, and always make sure to fully extinguish it before you leave your campsite. You can bury the fire in dirt or douse it with water.

-Don't burn trash outdoors or have bonfires. It's way too dry and windy this time of year and your fire could easily get out of control.

-Make sure your coals are extinguished after you grill. How many times do you read about a house fire in our area every summer that was started by someone who grilled out and either didn't bother even trying to put the coals out, or thought they had and just put their grill in a shed, garage, or against their house. Here are some tips to make sure you do it right. Also be sure to be careful if you have an outdoor fire pit.

-Make sure your lawn mower, weed eater, and other outdoor equipment is well-maintained. These things could throw even tiny sparks that could start a big fire.

-If you enjoy outdoor target shooting, you should also keep the possibility of sparking a wildfire in mind. Here are some tips on making sure you're fire smart while firing.

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