Governor Abbott Prepositions State Firefighting Resources In Response to Dangerous Fire Weather Conditions Across Parts Of Texas
Austin, TX (STL.News) Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Texas A&M Forest Service, and the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) have prepositioned resources in response to an elevated to critical risk of wildfires in the Panhandle, Western Plains, Trans Pecos, and the South Texas Plains. These areas of Texas are experiencing significantly warm, dry, and windy conditions that are expected to remain through Thursday and pose serious risk of wildfires that could grow beyond containment.
The majority of wildfires in Texas are caused by humans, and TDEM and the Texas A&M Forest Service urge Texans to be mindful of any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. Texans should pay attention to county burn bans and avoid all outdoor burning until conditions improve. Fires that ignite in dormant, cured grasses may spread rapidly due to high wind speeds and be more resistant to firefighters’ suppression efforts. Areas of particular concern include the communities of Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita Falls, Midland, Alpine, and McAllen.
“As Texans in the Panhandle, Western Plains, South Texas Plains, and Trans Pecos area face a significant threat of wildfires, I urge Texans in these communities to heed the guidance of their local leaders and avoid any outdoor burning that could spark wildfires,” said Governor Abbott. “The State of Texas is working alongside local officials and emergency management leaders on the ground to keep our communities safe and mitigate the threat that wildfires pose.”
At the direction of the Governor, TDEM, in coordination with the Texas A&M Forest Service and TIFMAS, has pre-positioned the following resources which each have the capability to be repositioned as the threat changes:
- 4 Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) Strike Teams each comprised of a Strike Team Leader, and 5 fire engines prepositioned in Childress, Amarillo, Lubbock, and Edinburg.
- 3 Wildland Fire Task Forces including fire suppression resources including bulldozers and fire engines, with increased Fireline Leadership, prepositioned in Childress, Amarillo, and Lubbock.
- 9 Wildland Fire Task Forces including fire suppression resources such as bulldozers and fire engines prepositioned in Wichita Falls, Abilene, Brownwood, San Angelo, Mineral Wells, McGregor, Fredericksburg, Smithville, and Fort Stockton.
In addition, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (http://txemtf.org) has placed the following resources on standby that will provide dedicated medical response, force protection, and assets for firefighters responding to moderate and large scale wildland fires:
- 3 Wildland Fire Support Unit Packages each consisting of 2 paramedics, an ambulance with 4×4 capability, and a Medical Unit Leader.
- 1 Rapid Extraction Module consisting of 4 Rescue Technician Paramedics, and 4×4 vehicles outfitted with technical rescue gear.