Foresters at the Texas Forest Service say they have good news and bad news.  The good news is that because of an unusually wet winter and spring, the worst drought in the state's history has finally ended, in east Texas.

The bad news is that many areas of the state are primed for another hot and dry summer.  Wildfire season is just around the corner, and the state and federal agencies that deal with wildfires are getting ready for it.

 

Through the first quarter of 2012 -- Angelina County has received more than 17 inches of rainfall — the most in a decade.

This means east Texas will be less susceptible to wildfires this year.  Unfortunately, south and west Texas didn't get nearly as much rain, which means wildfires will be a major problem in those areas again this year.

Last year's wildfire season caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property damage, and, combined with the long drought, did more than a billion dollars in damage to the east Texas economy. Experts say it will take years for this part of Texas to recover.

The Texas Forest Service and several federal agencies have created a joint operations center that makes it easier for them to work together across jurisdictional lines during wildfire emergencies. It's called the Texas Interagency Coordination Center, and its headquarters is in Lufkin. Check it out at: