Critical fire weather conditions present over Texas Plains

    Feb 22, 2017— AMARILLO, Texas — Critical fire weather conditions will be present over the Texas Plains region Thursday and Friday.

    The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued an alert putting western portions of the state in the “extreme”, “critical” and “elevated” categories for wildfire potential.

    The areas of concern are Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Abilene, Fort Stockton, Wichita Falls, San Angelo and El Paso regions.

    “If a fire should occur, expect it to move fast and burn hot and to pose a serious threat to anything in its path,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer. “This can be a very dangerous situation.”

    Increased fire activity is a concern due to sustained wind speeds of 30 to 35 mph combining with above normal seasonal temperatures, low relative humidity and a dry line — a boundary that separates moist air mass from dry air — forming over the region.

    Texas A&M Forest Service is monitoring the situation closely and will be working with local response departments as we preposition state resources, including the opening of two Single Engine Air Tanker bases in Amarillo and Abilene. The Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System has also been tapped to deploy two strike teams to the Texas Plains region.

    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. 

    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 or the Texas A&M Forest Service Current Situation page.


    Note: The area impacted by the critical fire weather conditions does include parts of Western Oklahoma. For more information on fire weather in that area visit the Oklahoma Forestry Services webpage.

    Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:

    Phillip Truitt, Communications Specialist 979-255-0591, ptruitt@tfs.tamu.edu

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