April 8, 2022

    Interagency coordination helps wildfire prevention messages reach Texas’ highest fire-risk communities

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A National Fire Prevention Education Team (NFPET) was brought in to assist Texas A&M Forest Service with wildfire prevention messaging. NFPET’s overall goal is to provide recommendations for both short- and long-term strategies to implement the Texas A&M Forest Service State Wildfire Prevention Plan and expand on elements related to education, enforcement, engineering and administration. One of those short-term strategies being implemented this weekend is a targeted approach in the three highest-wildfire risk regions of the state involving twelve communities: Abilene, Bastrop County, Brownwood, Burnet County, Greenville, Grimes County Lampasas, Llano County, Mineral Wells, Waco/Killeen, Wichita Falls, and Victoria.

    The recent brief periods of rain seen in some areas across the state will not have a notable effect on the significant levels of drought that Texas is experiencing. Statewide fire activity this year is above normal and trending similarly to high fire risk years like 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. There are common threads in 2022 compared to prior active winter and spring fire seasons. Previous wet spring and summer periods produced a robust grass crop that carried into the winter months. This high grass loading provided a receptive fuel bed for fire ignitions and spread. These years also trended warmer and drier than normal, consistent with current La Niña conditions, and were marked by emerging drought during the fall that persisted through the winter.

    Statistics show that people and their activities cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires in Texas and almost all are preventable. The largest number of human-caused wildfires is a result of careless debris burning. Other causes include parking on tall, dry grass, and sparks from welding, grinding equipment, and dragging trailer chains. Texas A&M Forest Service is continuing to strengthen its relationship with partners and cooperators as we boost more wildfire prevention messaging in a united effort state-wide.

    “A multi-disciplinary team of Texas A&M Forest Service staff raised their hand to spend their weekend talking one-on-one with landowners about wildfire prevention,” said NFPET team leader, Gwen Beavans. “With 97% of land in Texas being privately owned, landowners can make the largest impact to prevent wildfires.”

    “We are also reaching out to organizations, associations, and partners via email. Our hope is they will share wildfire prevention materials and messaging with their communities. Graphics that can be used in social media, newsletters, or with emails are designed to make it easy to help get messaging out quickly,” continued Beavans. “These individuals will be able to expand our reach ten-fold. It just makes sense to use all the tools we have, and one of those is this digital outreach.”

    “Using a highly-coordinated, comprehensive approach like this for wildfire prevention is unique to Texas A&M Forest Service,” said Bruce Woods, Department Head, Mitigation and Prevention. We plan to expand on these efforts to increase collaboration with other agencies and partners. If everyone does their part to protect their piece of Texas, we can lower the amount of wildfires and keep people and communities safe.”


    Texas A&M Forest Service Contact:
    Weldon Dent, Program Specialist, (936) 404-4783,