Governor Greg Abbott today directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to activate additional state resources in response to critical fire weather conditions across Texas heading into the weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) warns that elevated fire conditions are possible today in areas of South Texas and the border region.
The Texas A&M Forest Service has activated three strike teams from Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) that include approximately 75 firefighters and 15 fire engines. This increases the activated TIFMAS resources to 6 strike teams including approximately 150 personnel and 30 fire engines. Additionally, the Texas Military Department will be deploying two helicopters with firefighting capability and two more remain on standby.
“The State of Texas continues to monitor weather conditions conducive to wildfires and remains fully prepared to respond to any potential fire activity,” said Governor Abbott. “Texans are encouraged to remain vigilant and weather-aware through this weekend. We are grateful to our firefighters and emergency response personnel for always heeding the call of duty and keeping our communities safe.”
The Texas A&M Forest Service is expecting wildfire activity to increase Friday through Monday along and west of I-35 and into South Texas as dormant vegetation dries and becomes receptive to fire ignitions. Abundant, freeze cured grasses observed in these regions has contributed to recent fire activity and will once again play a factor to increased wildfire potential through the weekend. Wildfire potential will be greatest west of I-35 Sunday and Monday as temperatures warm into the mid 70s and low 80s coupled with increased wind speeds over dry, dormant vegetation.
The Texas A&M Forest Service has responded to 47 requests for assistance since Monday.
The assets activated today are in addition to the following state resources previously readied earlier this week by the Texas A&M Forest Service: Three strike teams from TIFMAS that include approximately 75 firefighters and 15 fire engines. Texas A&M Forest Service has fully staffed task forces in communities across the state. Additional operators and overhead, including incident commanders with advanced qualifications, are positioned across areas of concern. Two large air tankers, three single engine air tankers, two type 3 helicopters, two air attack platform, and two aerial supervision modules are staged in state to assist with wildfire response efforts.
Two Emergency Medical Task Force Wildland Fire Support Packages remain on standby to be deployed if necessary.
Texans can visit tfsweb.tamu.edu or ready.gov/wildfires for wildfire safety tips and resources.