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  • NEWSROOM: EXTREMELY CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER EXPECTED FOR THE PANHANDLE

    Feb. 17, 2016 — LUBBOCK, Texas — Portions of Northwestern Texas could see active wildfire weather this afternoon and tomorrow.

    The Storm Prediction Center has issued an alert putting parts of the Panhandle in the “extremely critical” and “critical” categories for wildfire potential.

    “Recent moisture deficits have led to elevated levels of fuel dryness in these areas.  Matched with the forecasted active fire weather, there is a real concern for the occurrence of fast-moving and threatening wildfires,” said Tom Spencer, predictive services department head.

    The areas of most concern are Amarillo, Lubbock and Childress.

    Due to above normal temperatures — with highs in the mid-80s, strong winds between 30 – 35 mph and low relative humidity from 4 to 10 percent in the Panhandle, this area is expected to see elevated fire activity.

    Texas A&M Forest Service has requested the assistance of two Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual System strike teams — each consisting of one team leader and five engines — in preparation for the forecasted fire danger. The strike teams will be dispatched to the affected areas.

    Vigilance and preventative measures are encouraged against human-caused wildfires. 

    • Postpone outdoor burning until conditions improve.
    • With high fire danger, caution should be used with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. It only takes one spark to start a wildfire. 
    • Dispose of smoking materials properly. Extinguish them in an ash tray. Don’t throw them out of a window.
    • Avoid parking and idling in tall, dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass under a vehicle.
    • Avoid setting hot chainsaws or other hot, gas-powered equipment in dry grass.
    • Wildfires burning in grass can spread and grow extremely fast. It is important that if you spot a wildfire you report it immediately to local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.

    For more information, visit the Texas Interagency Coordination Center website. To listen to our webinar about the current state of Texas fire weather visit http://bit.ly/1LuyAba.

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    Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:

    Mylea Lovell; Wildland Urban Interface Specialist; 806-500-1199; mlovell@tfs.tamu.edu

    TFS Communications Office; 979-458-6606; newsmedia@tfs.tamu.edu
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