March 14, 2023

    Palo Pinto Group

    Palo Pinto County develops Community Wildfire Protection Plan to address wildfire risk

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Palo Pinto County has adopted a plan to reduce risks and better prepare for wildfires.

    Palo Pinto County, west of Fort Worth, is the 24th county to complete a Community Wildfire Protection Plan in Texas.

    A Community Wildfire Protection Plan is a proven strategy for reducing the risk of wildfire to communities. The Palo Pinto County plan establishes goals and strategies for long-term success by identifying priorities and proposing immediate measures that will protect communities, especially those at highest risk, from wildland fire.

    The plan was developed in cooperation with Palo Pinto County officials, local fire departments and representatives from Texas A&M Forest Service.

    “With the signing and implementation of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, we took a big step toward improving the safety and security of the citizens and visitors of Palo Pinto County,” said Ricky Hunter, Palo Pinto County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Wildfires will remain a threat, but this plan, and the involvement and support of the community, will help to lower that threat. I would like to thank all our volunteer fire departments, Palo Pinto County Emergency Services District 1 and Texas A&M Forest Service for their help in achieving this important goal.”

    The county has been impacted by wildfires in recent years and is subject to Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak events.

    On April 9, 2011, conditions aligned to create a Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak, which resulted in 144 wildfires burning more than 582,000 acres. The PK Complex ignited that day in extremely dry vegetation after 10 consecutive days with critical fire weather. The rugged terrain around Possum Kingdom Lake was also a major influence on fire behavior.

    The wildfire burned uphill, causing it to travel rapidly and burn intensely, exposing homes along hilltops and ridges to some of the most extreme fire behavior that emergency responders observed that year.

    The wildfire burned 126,734 acres in Palo Pinto, Young and Stephens counties and destroyed 168 homes. It is the 10th largest wildfire to burn in Texas since 1988.

    The 2011 wildfire season in Texas was unprecedented, and wildfires have continued to threaten the communities of Palo Pinto County.

    In 2022, the busiest fire year since 2011, 12,411 wildfires burned across Texas. Of that total, 123 wildfires burned in Palo Pinto County. The largest of these wildfires was the 11,598-acre Dempsey Fire, which threatened the town of Graford.

    “Completing this plan is a great first step towards reducing the county’s risk from wildfire,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “By focusing on actions that improve preparedness and response to wildfire, Palo Pinto County can work towards becoming a more resilient community.”

    Initial conversations and meetings for the Palo Pinto plan took place during the fall of 2021. As the 2022 wildfire year began, the need for a comprehensive plan was reinforced.

    On March 3, the Palo Pinto County Community Wildfire Protection Plan was approved and signed by the County Commissioners and Texas A&M Forest Service.

    To learn more about Community Wildfire Protection Plans and reducing your risk from wildfire, visit


    Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:
    Adam Turner, Regional WUI Coordinator, 940-328-9158,
    Alex Bregenzer, CWPP Program Coordinator, 512-354-5790,
    Information Officer, 979-255-0591,