June 12, 2020

    Wildfire Potential Increases This Weekend Across Portions of Panhandle and West Texas

    AMARILLO, Texas — Wildfire potential will increase this weekend and into the middle of next week across West Texas, including areas around Abilene, Childress, Lubbock and Amarillo.

    A ridge of high pressure over Texas is producing hot and dry conditions and rapidly drying vegetation, including grass and brush across West Texas.

    “The combination of underlying drought, dry vegetation, hot temperatures and dry air has increased the risk for wildfire occurrence for parts of West Texas and is forecast to persist into next week” said Luke Kanclerz, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Analyst. “Wind speed will also be highest in West Texas this weekend and into next week, which can increase the potential for wildfire spread”.

    Portions of the Texas Panhandle region will experience critical fire weather conditions due to a combination of dry fuels, low relative humidity and breezy wind speeds Friday and Saturday. According to the National Weather Service in Amarillo, there is also lightning induced fire threat from any thunderstorms moving through the area.

    Texas A&M Forest Service resources have responded to 18 requests for assistance on wildfires across the state that have burned 7,608 acres while local fire departments have responded to 20 wildfires for 271 acres since Tuesday, June 9.

    Texas A&M Forest Service encourages vigilance and preventative measures against human-caused wildfires.

    “During these critical fire weather conditions, it is extremely important to remain mindful of all outdoor activities,” said Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service State Prevention Coordinator. “Any activity that can create a spark, can start a wildfire.”

    Postpone outdoor burning until conditions improve and always check for burn restrictions.

    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.

    When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely; loose chains can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires.

    If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.

    Follow your local meteorologist or the National Weather Service for weather updates.

    Follow @AllHazardsTFS on Twitter for frequent Texas incident information.


    Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:

    Texas A&M Forest Service Information Officer, 979-255-0591,

    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-458-6606,