Governor Greg Abbott today directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to prepare state resources to activate in anticipation of increased fire weather conditions in Texas through the weekend. The Texas A&M Forest Service warns of warming and drying conditions for most of the state, creating areas of dry to critically dry vegetation in the Lone Star State.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, conditions may deteriorate beginning Friday, with potential for significant wildfires to occur through the weekend. A strong upper level storm approaching the state over the weekend will produce elevated to critical fire weather including above normal temperatures and increased wind speeds, which will increase the potential for large wildfires. Greatest impacts are expected for the areas of the Texas Panhandle and West Texas, encompassing Amarillo, San Angelo, Abilene and Wichita Falls, and potentially the Hill Country.
“The State of Texas is assisting our communities that face the potential for wildfires by coordinating with local partners and monitoring fire and weather conditions to ensure resources are readily available,” said Governor Abbott. “Due to the unpredictable nature of wildfires, I encourage Texans in these communities to heed all warnings from local emergency management officials as firefighters work swiftly to contain any resulting fires.”
The following resources have been readied by the Texas A&M Forest Service: 7 strike teams from the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) that include approximately 175 firefighters and 35 fire engines. The Texas A&M Forest Service has fully staffed task forces across the state with additional personnel and equipment for support. Fireline supervisors, command staff, and incident commanders with advanced qualifications are strategically placed across the state to respond. Aviation resources are also prepositioned across Texas for a quick and effective response, including: two large air tankers, nine single engine air tankers, three air attack platforms, two type 1 helicopters and two type 3 helicopters are currently staged in state for wildfire response. Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) Wildland Fire Support resources are on standby to be deployed if necessary.
Texans can visit ready.gov/wildfires or tfsweb.tamu.edu for wildfire safety tips and resources.