Texas A&M Forest Service encourages Texans to prepare as the potential for wildfire activity continues
COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Significant, or large, wildfires may occur this weekend for the Texas Panhandle and the Trans Pecos including areas near Canadian, Amarillo, Childress, Lubbock, Abilene, Big Spring, Midland and Alpine.
Forecast critical and elevated fire weather, which includes triple digit temperatures, increased wind speeds and low relative humidity levels, is forecast Saturday through Monday. The fire environment will support wildfire activity where forecast fire weather aligns with dry to critically dry vegetation.
The threat of wildfires is constant for the state, and Texas A&M Forest Service encourages residents to participate in National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 7.
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is a national campaign that encourages people and organizations everywhere to come together on a single day to take action to raise awareness and reduce wildfire risks. The intent of the day is for residents to focus on mitigation actions around their homes and completing activities that reduce their susceptibility to wildfires.
This year, Texas A&M Forest Service fire resources have responded to 805 wildfires that burned 397,169 acres across the state. Several of these wildfires threatened public safety and greatly impacted Texas communities, crops, livestock and critical infrastructure.
“This year’s fire activity has trended above normal for the number of fire responses and acres burned across the state,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “Texas A&M Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions and ensure fire resources are strategically positioned across the state, but it is essential that Texans prepare for continued wildfire activity.”
Creating and maintaining defensible space is crucial to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire event. This space is the buffer you create between a structure on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs or wildland areas that surround it.
Defensible space, when maintained properly, will slow or stop the spread of wildfire and may protect homes from catching fire. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home.
“With the continued threat of wildfire and warm, dry weather on the way, now is the perfect time to prepare your home,” said Kari Hines, Texas A&M Forest Service Firewise Program Coordinator. “This weekend, communities from Fort Davis to Huntsville, San Antonio to Amarillo and everywhere in between will be completing risk reduction work to make their community safer.”
There are simple measures that anyone can take around their home to decrease their risk from wildfire. Take the following steps to reduce the risk of wildfire:
- Within the first 30 feet of your home, use non-flammable landscaping materials. Within the first five feet, water plants, trees and mulch regularly, and consider xeriscaping if you are affected by water restrictions.
- A healthy, well-maintained landscape is important to the survival of homes during a wildfire. Make sure your plants are carefully spaced, low growing and free of resins, oils and waxes that burn easily.
- Remove dead vegetation from under the deck of your home and within 10 feet of the house.
- Prune your trees so that low-hanging branches do not touch the ground.
For more information about protecting your home, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/
For current conditions and wildfire outlook, read the Texas Fire Potential Outlook https://bit.ly/3kemhbG.