Think we’ve had a lot of rain this year? You’d be correct. It makes us think back to the wildfires we had in 2011 and reminds us to be thankful that we are in the position that we are right now.

As of July 18, Tyler has received 36.57 inches of rain. This is over 10 inches above the normal for this time of the year, which sits at 25.66 inches of rain. However, in 2011, it was a much different story. Back in 2011, we had only received 12.73 inches of rain by July 18. That’s over a foot below normal for that time of the year. What a difference!

With the lack of rain in 2011, the result was extreme drought conditions and numerous wildfires across East Texas, including the Bear Creek Fire in September, the largest wildfire in East Texas History.

According to data from the Texas A&M Forest Service and the U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of East Texas went from a moderate drought in February, to exceptional drought in September. This was the case for most of the Lone Star State.

Texas A&M Forest Service

The resulting Bear Creek Fire burned over 41-thousand acres in Cass and Marion counties. It destroyed 66 homes and burned for 51 days. According to the report, 400 homes were saved by firefighters and responders. The cause of this fire was never determined.

Remembering all of the wildfires from 2011 is a grim reminder of how badly things can change with a lack of rain. This year that won’t be the case though as again we are well above normal for rainfall this year.