Hot, dry conditions creating high wildfire potential across Texas

Dangerous heat continues today and above normal temperatures will continue through the end of this week. Most areas will remain dry, creating the possibility for wildfire ignitions to occur this week.

According to Texas A&M Forest Service, there is an increased potential for large wildfires that are resistant to control to occur near Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, San Angelo and Abilene. Portions of East Texas may be susceptible to large wildfires for areas near Athens, Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Huntsville.

"An added complexity to the fire environment this week is the potential for thunderstorms," said Luke Kanclerz, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Analyst. "Wildfire ignitions due to lightning will be possible because of the underlying drought and vegetation dryness. Increased wind speeds from nearby thunderstorms can cause a sudden increase in fire activity, creating safety concerns for firefighters."

State and local resources have been busy over the last few weeks with wildfire response. 

Over the past 10 days, Texas A&M Forest Service resources have responded to 98 wildfires that burned 17,763 acres across the state. This includes 43 new wildfires from July 8-10, according to Texas A&M Forest Service.

"With persistent hot and dry conditions as well as an intensifying drought, many recent wildfires have required more time and resources to fully contain," said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. "The job of our state and local firefighters becomes more difficult and dangerous under these circumstances, and we need Texans to be cautious of any activity that causes sparks and may ignite a wildfire."

Fully staffed task forces and additional suppression equipment are staged across East Texas and in Amarillo, Beeville, Brownwood, Burkburnett, Childress, Edinburg, Fort Stockton, Fredericksburg, Greenville, Lubbock, Marble Falls, McGregor, Merkel, Mineral Wells, Ozona, San Angelo, Smithville, Sweetwater, Uvalde and Victoria.

Fireline supervisors, command staff and incident commanders with advanced qualifications are also strategically placed across the state to respond. 391 personnel from 33 states are also in Texas to support wildfire response efforts, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Thirty-six aviation aircrafts are also staged in state, including five large air tankers, 12 single engine air tankers, six air attack platforms, five type 1 helicopters, two type 2 helicopters and four type 3 helicopters.

Stay wildfire aware. If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. 

A quick response can help save lives and property.