Wildfire activity is forecast to increase along and west of I-35 and into South Texas through the weekend, according to Texas A&M Forest Service personnel.
An abundance of extremely dry, dormant grasses and intensifying drought may produce large wildfires that are difficult to control when exposed to periods of elevated-to-critical fire weather.
Since March 12, state and local resources have responded to 70 wildfires that have burned 15,274 acres across the state.
Texas A&M Forest Service is monitoring the current situation closely and has positioned personnel and equipment across areas of concern.
Resources staged across the state
“The underlying drought conditions combined with winds associated with cold front passages has supported increased wildfire activity across the state this week,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service fire chief. “Conditions are not forecast to improve through the weekend, and the agency has strategically placed fire resources across the state for a quick and effective response.”
Fully staffed task forces and additional suppression equipment are staged in Alice, Amarillo, Beeville, Brownwood, Burkburnett, Childress, Edinburg, Fort Stockton, Fredericksburg, Lubbock, McGregor, Merkel, Mineral Wells, Pleasanton, San Angelo, Smithville and Victoria.
Additionally, fireline supervisors, command staff and incident commanders with advanced qualifications are strategically placed across the state to respond.
Aviation resources currently staged in state for wildfire response include two large airtankers, 12 single engine air tankers, four air attack platforms, three Type 1 helicopters, two Type 3 helicopters and one aerial supervision module.
During periods of high fire activity, aviation resources are used to support suppression efforts on the ground, aiding in the protection of structures and other valuable resources. Aircraft responded to eight wildfires over the past week, assisting ground crews with a total of 66,000 gallons of water and retardant to slow forward progression of fires.
Texas A&M Forest Service has requested the mobilization of six strike teams via Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System for wildfire incident support.
Texas A&M Forest Service reminds the public to “stay wildfire aware.” If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.
For current conditions and wildfire outlook, visit the Texas Fire Potential Outlook at https://bit.ly/3kemhbG.
Texas A&M Forest Service does not own any aviation resources but instead uses federal aviation contracts through the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for all firefighting aircraft.