All of Texas has been experiencing record heat and drought--here in Austin, we've broken records for the most consecutive days of 100+ temps (over 70 now). We've also had very little measurable rain since April, resulting in dry, brittle grass and plants, and soil that's hard as cement. Along with all of this is the increased risk of wildfires--and last week in Austin we had a fire that was determined to be caused by "spontaneous combustion." The culprit? A compost pile! I've been to many landscape yards where they make mulch and compost, and you can see how hot these piles are. Steam rises out of them--they are literally "cooking." Under normal circumstances, this is great--you want the pile to heat up so the contents break down. But during times extreme heat and drought, this can cause a real problem with the pile combusting. The fix is an easy one--turn your pile! Get your garden fork and thoroughly turn your compost pile--to keep it within a safe temperature range, you want the interior of the pile to be less than 160 degrees. Turning the pile releases some of that built-up heat.