AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Texas A&M Forest Service said it is preparing for extreme fire conditions across regions of Texas including the Panhandle and the High Plains.
According to a news release from TFS, due to above-normal temperatures, low humidity, dry fuel, and strong winds, there is the potential for extreme fire conditions capable of creating large fires across the Western Plains, including Canadian, Childress, Amarillo, and Lubbock.
“We have critically dry fuels, complex terrain and higher temperatures in the forecast for that area,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “These are prime fire conditions, and we’ve staged personnel and equipment in the area to facilitate an immediate response to requests for assistance.”
TFS said these conditions could lead to a fire weather phenomenon called Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak (SPWO) which could result in wildfires exhibiting rapid growth and difficulty getting under control.
“Since 2005, SPWO fires have accounted for 3% of reported wildfires but nearly half of the acres burned. Last year, a complex of fires that ignited under SPWO conditions burned more than 54,000 acres in Eastland County,” said Texas A&M Forest Service in the news release.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to mobilize wildfire resources in areas of the Panhandle, Southern Plains, Permian Basin, and West Texas in the event of a fire. TFS said it is coordinating with TDEM to monitor conditions and work with local entities to prepare for potential fires.