Texas Forest Service A&M warns of the potential for forest fires

It is expected that the activity of forest fires will intensify until February 16, as the active weather is consistent with dry vegetation throughout the landscape.

The potential for wildfires could increase through West Texas this week if the front moves across the state. (Photo by Texas A&M Forest Service)

A strong front will move across the state, leading to increased wind, temperature and fire hazards in dried herbs across the landscape for the western parts of the state. This includes areas on the High Plains and the plains around Wichita Falls, San Angelo, Labak and Amaryll.

The growth of forest fires

Over the past seven days, state and local resources have responded to 176 forest fires that have burned 8,418 acres. The increase in activity was the result of an increase in wind speed over dry fuel.

Preparing for potential forest fires this week, Texas A&M Forest Service has fully staffed task forces and suppression equipment located in Childress, Amaryll, Lubbock, San Angelo, Burkbernet, Fredericksburg, Smithville, McGregor and Mineral Wells.

Additional agency staff, including highly qualified incident commanders, are deployed in a variety of areas of concern.

“Rapid response and the use of appropriate resources are critical to preventing large-scale destructive forest fires,” said Wes Moorhead, Texas A&M chief of fire. “Our agency strategically deploys personnel and equipment in areas of concern where they can respond to requests for assistance from local fire departments that serve as Texas’ first line of defense.”

Two large aircraft tanks, three single-engine aircraft tanks, two Type 3 helicopters, two air attack platforms and two air surveillance modules are in place to assist in responding to forest fires.

Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Department of Emergencies also worked together to mobilize the three strike groups through Texas Internal Mutual Fire Assistance System to support the incident with forest fires.

“The Texas A&M Forest Service will continue to work closely with our state, federal and local partners to protect Texas citizens and natural resources from forest fires,” said Al Davis, interim director of the Texas A&M Forest Service. “We also ask the public to be careful and prevent wildfires this week.”

The agency urges the public to avoid outdoor activities that can cause sparks in warm, dry and windy conditions.

To learn about current forest fire conditions and forecasts, visit Texas Fire Potential Outlook.

The Texas A&M Forest Service does not have any aviation resources, but instead uses federal aviation contracts through the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for all firefighting aircraft.

-30- Texas Forest Service A&M warns of the potential for forest fires

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