Hot, Dry Conditions Could Mean More Wildfires for Central Texas
Extremely dry vegetation could fuel wildfires across much of the state, Texas A&M Forest Service said today.
Persistent temperatures above 100 degrees continue to draw moisture from live vegetation. Mid-July live fuel samples in the Cross Timbers, Rolling Plains and Hill Country are at critical levels, making tree torching likely with elevated fire weather conditions.
There is potential for larger wildfires to occur in the Eastern/Western Hill Country, Cross Timbers and eastern Rolling Plains into early next week, the Forest Service said.
The upper-level ridge of high pressure that is responsible for the hot and dry conditions impacting much of Texas over the past several weeks is forecast to move back over the state Sunday through Wednesday.
Widespread triple-digit temperatures will once again become commonplace across the state. With slightly higher wind speeds, the fire environment will support wildfire ignitions.
“As conditions continue to deteriorate for much of the state, we remain proactive in ensuring the state has the necessary resources to respond to any wildfire,” said Fire Chief Wes Moorehead. “Wildfire activity is occurring across the state, from border to border, and requires a lot of support. Texas A&M Forest Service continues to mobilize additional firefighters, equipment and aircraft, positioning them across the state for a quick response.”
In addition to the 300 Texas A&M Forest Service firefighters, there are 1,080 firefighters from land-management agencies across the nation as well as via the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) mobilized by the agency to assist with wildfire response.
Texas A&M Forest Service has also positioned 40 aircraft at 17 airports across the state to respond to wildfire incidents.
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.
“We need Texans to prevent wildfires from occurring under these conditions,” said Emily Wall, Texas A&M Forest Service Chief Operating Officer of Forest Resource Protection. “It is imperative that everyone remains diligent with any activity that may cause a spark and check with local officials for burn bans or other restrictions.”
The Forest Service monitors live fuel moisture across the state.
Some 224 Texas counties are under a burn ban — the most the state has seen since Oct 24, 2011. Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people.
The Forest Service advises Texans to:
- Obey local burn bans and outdoor burning restrictions. Wait to conduct any burning or light campfires until the burn ban is lifted and weather conditions are not extremely hot, dry or windy.
- Avoid outdoor activities that could cause a spark including welding, grinding and using heavy machinery.
- Stay current on weather conditions and use extreme caution when performing outdoor activities even if a burn ban has not been issued for a particular county.
- Don’t count on rainfall to reduce wildfire danger. Rain can reduce the possibility of fire temporarily, but areas with limited rainfall will become dry again. Obey burning restrictions until they are lifted by local officials.
- Contac local authorities immediately if a wildfire is spotted. A quick response can help save lives and property.
In addition to the 300 Texas A&M Forest Service firefighters now on alert, there are 1,080 firefighters from land-management agencies across the nation and through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, which is mobilized by the agency to assist with wildfire response.
Texas A&M Forest Service has also positioned 40 aircraft at 17 airports across the state to respond to wildfire incidents. 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.