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Fire Concerns Increase As Dove Season Opens

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dove season is officially underway and in addition to gun safety state park officials are warning hunters about wildfires.

With record heat this summer and drought conditions all across the state the threat of wildfires has never been greater.

“All the grass and shrubs are just at record lows in terms of moisture, so any spark will start a fire,” explained Jan Amen, with the Texas Forest Service. “Any fire that gets going… it’s not even necessary to have a strong wind to push it along it’s what they call ‘fuel driven’.”

Experts say hunters will have to do more than just take the ‘normal precautions’. “You need to take the risk of fire more seriously than you normally would,” said Amen. “We haven’t had good rains in so long everything is just really, really dry, so everybody needs to be very careful.”

Texas Parks & Wildlife has a list of 10 ‘Shooting Safety Rules’ that include – treating every firearm with the same respect you would show a loaded gun, unloading firearms when not in use and handling firearms ammunition carefully.

Amen also stressed the importance of the number one item on the list. “When shooting close to the ground be sure there isn’t any dry grass in front of your muzzle,” she said.

Firearms aren’t the only way a blaze can be sparked. Amen is also reminding hunters to only drive in designated areas.

“These hunters are out, running around on 4-wheelers and [in] pickup trucks and they just, by their very nature, drive through dry grass and that’s not a good idea right now.”

Hunters are also being asked to use extra caution with cigarettes and matches and to never start a campfire for any reason.

Texas dove season is broken into two parts – the first running from September 1 until October 23, the second from December 23 through January 8, 2012.

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