March 22, 2016 — LUBBOCK, Texas — Escalated fire weather conditions will be present over the Texas Plains region Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

    The areas of concern are Amarillo, Childress, Lubbock, Abilene and Midland/Odessa. 

    “Strong dry southwest winds will stimulate much above normal temperatures, increasing the potential for fast-spreading wildfires. Wildfires occurring under these conditions represent a dangerous threat to people and property. Care should be used when considering any outdoor activities that could lead to an accidental fire start,” said Tom Spencer, predictive services department head.

    Elevated fire activity is a concern due to sustained wind speeds of 30 to 35 mph combining with well-above above normal temperatures and low relative humidity in the Panhandle.

    Texas A&M Forest Service has firefighting resources pre-staged, is working with local response departments and is monitoring the situation closely.

    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.


    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