PAMPA, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announced that it will host its Wildfire Preparation and Response workshop on Thursday at locations around the Panhandle and South Plains region.
The conference speakers will be in-person at the Economic Development Corporation in Pampa, said organizers, with virtual satellite locations at other locations around the region. The conference is expected to begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday and has a $10 registration fee.
Organizers noted that the program will begin officially at 9:30 a.m., with speakers and topics on the agenda including:
- Strategies for wildfire preparation utilizing grazing and fire – Laura Goodman, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University state range Extension specialist, Stillwater, Okla.;
- Effects of wildfires on rangeland and how to manage pastures post-fire – Adam Isaacs, Hemphill County rancher; and
- Brush management impact on fire prevention – Jason Abraham, rancher, owner and founder of Brush Bullet, Canadian.
At 1 p.m., the program will conclude with a panel discussion on, “Preparing for the Response and Understanding Roles.” Organizers detailed that panelists will include ranchers, county officials, Texas A&M Forest Service experts, fire chiefs, emergency management coordinators and volunteers.
Satellite locations for the event include:
- Economic Development Corporation, 200 N. Ballard, Pampa;
- AgriLife Extension office for Garza County, 225 Main St., Post;
- AgriLife Extension office for Lubbock County, 916 Main St., Suite 201, Lubbock;
- AgriLife Extension office for Crosby County, 201 W. Aspen, Crosbyton;
- AgriLife Extension office for Potter County, 3301 S.E. 10th Ave., Amarillo; and
- AgriLife Extension office for Hansford County, 223 Main St., Spearman.
The conference comes, detailed organizers, as the High Plains region has continued to experience record-breaking hot temperatures in the last few months, as well as warm and dry conditions that have heightened the risk of wildfires after a rainy summer.
“With early and late summer rainfall, the amount of grass grown has created opportunity for wildfire events this year and into 2024,” said Danny Nusser, AgriLife Extension program leader for the North Region, Amarillo. “We hope the moisture is abundant this winter, but dormant grasses provide fuel for pastures to be exposed to fire.”
Nusser said that participants in the conference will learn more about wildfire preparation and how the response process works.
“This is more than a wildfire meeting with education on grazing management, prescribed burn, controlling brush in pastures, CRP and EQIP programs offered from NRCS, along with testimony from those who have experienced past fire events,” he said.
As of November 2023, most of the counties in the Texas Panhandle region were under outdoor burn bans. Further, weather conditions have continued to give rise to “Red Flag” and “Fire Weather” warnings and watches in the area.
Officials from the AgriLife Extension Service, the Forest Service, and emergency departments around Amarillo and the High Plains have continued to encourage community members to prepare for wildfires and other disaster conditions.