WILDFIRES & DISASTERS
  • One of the primary roles of all branches of government is to help insure the safety of its citizens. Since it inception in 1915, the Texas A&M Forest Service has been tasked with the responsibility of wildfire suppression, defending both the property and lives of Texas citizens. TWPP Image

    For Texas this is a growing issue. Since 2005 the state has seen over 150.000 wildfires consume more than 9 million acres. Additionally, the majority of these fires threaten homes. Wildfires, once primarily a rural issue are now clearly a statewide threat. In recent years wildfires have threatened and, in some cases burned through, small towns and large cities alike, destroying hundreds of homes.

    What is the Texas Wildfire Protection Plan?

    For the past two decades, Texas A&M Forest Service has been developing, using, and refining its operations under the Texas Wildfire Protection Plan (TWPP), a coordinated, interactive effort utilizing multiple components:

    • Predictive Services
    • Mitigation & Prevention
    • Planning & Preparedness
    • Applied Technology
    • Local Capacity Building
    • Rapid Initial Response and Suppression of Wildfires
    • Law Enforcement

    Under the TWPP, TFS works to reduce wildfire occurrence and losses through integrated programs that reduce wildfire risk and improve state and local response capabilities.

    TWPP Updates and Comments:

    The Texas A&M Forest Service is in the process of updating the Texas Wildfire Protection Plan. The plan and supporting documents are currently posted online and available for public comment through March 6, 2020.

    Revised TWPP (2020) – View the document.

    Comments, questions or requests for public or group presentation on the TWPP can be submitted to:

    Jared Karns
    Texas A&M Forest Service
    200 Technology Way, Suite 1162
    College Station, TX 77845
    jkarns@tfs.tamu.edu
    979-458-6507

    For those wishing to comment directly, a public meeting will be held at 2 p.m. March 16, 2020 at TFS offices in College Station, 200 Technology Way, Suite 1105.

     + Texas Wildfire Response

    Texas has a tiered strategy for fire response to meet this risk. This involves local fire departments, Texas A&M Forest Service and other state agencies, as well as firefighters and equipment from across the nation.

    The Role of Fire Departments

    Local fire departments are the first responders to wildland fires in Texas. They are the first line of defense. However, if they determine that their capacity to control the fire is exceeded, suppression assistance is requested from TFS. This may occur quickly or over time after the fire has grown large and become destructive.

    During periods of high fire danger TFS will pre-position firefighters and equipment for faster response when wildfires occur.

     + The Texas Wildfire Protection Plan

    For nearly 20 years TFS has been developing, testing and refining its wildfire and emergency response programs to operate as a multi-pronged, but cohesive unit. The basic components of the plan follow a logical progression to increase public safety and reduce wildfire losses.

    • Predictive Services works to identify where and when fires are likely to occur and what areas are in the most danger
    • Mitigation alerts the public and local officials to the areas of highest risk and helps them take action to reduce their risk before damaging fires occur
    • Planning & Preparedness coordinates the flow of information, firefighters and equipment based on the current fire potential
    • Local Capacity Building provides grants and equipment to local fire departments to increase their ability to protect lives, homes and communities
    • Incident Response mobilizes TFS and cooperating firefighters and equipment to protect the public, extinguish fires and respond to other emergencies as they occur
    • Law Enforcement investigates and determines wildfire cause, pursues arsonists and works with local and state law enforcement to enforce laws related to wildfires and forests

    Together these efforts have saved countless lives and billions of dollars in homes and property across the state of Texas.