AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – A Red Flag Warning was issued for Tuesday in multiple High Plains counties, including Potter, Randall, Dallam, Deaf Smith, and Cimarron – leaving some to question what that means. The warning came because warm temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds have combined into an increased risk of fire in the area.
The Texas A&M Forest Service published a list of resources for wildfire education, with a focus on the Texas Panhandle area. It also provided a forecast for Oct. 26 focused on fire risk, as well as a live risk evaluation tool for the state of Texas.
Wildfires pose serious risks to farms and ranches, often damaging homes, barns, agriculture production facilities, crops, and livestock. According to the Forest Service, “Much of this damage can be avoided, or at least minimized if a few precautions are taken to minimize the risk and spread of wildfires.”
Alongside keeping track of breaking news and weather events with MyHighPlains.com, resources for checking fire conditions state and countrywide include the AirNow Smoke and Fire Map that allows users to search specific locations across the US and see updated information from condition sensors.
Preparing for fire risk, according to the resources given by the Forest Service, include keeping track of local burn outdoor burn bans. For example, Oldham County and Armstrong County both reported being under such bans Oct. 25.
From the National Weather Service regarding Red Flag Warnings:
- If you are allowed to burn in your area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch.
- Do not throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle. They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road and become a wildfire.
- Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass, ignite a fire, and quickly spread.
The Forest Service also released a checklist for wildfire preparation, as doing so “ahead of time is one of the most important steps a landowner can take.” Other fact sheets regarding fire protection and preparation can be found through AirNow resources.