Wildfire potential continues today for portions of the Panhandle and West Texas

Mesquite Fire
Mesquite Fire(Texas A&M Fire Service)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 2:18 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KWTX) -The Texas A&M Fire Service is warning of potential large wildfires that can occur in the Western/Eastern Hill Country and Rolling Plains through Friday including areas near Childress, Vernon, Abilene, Brownwood, Lampasas, San Angelo, Ozona and Fredericksburg.

Any new fires in grass and brush vegetation will likely be resistant to control, as underlying drought and critically to extremely dry vegetation combine with 100-degree temperatures and periods of elevated to critical fire weather, according to the Fire Service.

Texas A&M Forest Service fire resources responded to four wildfires Tuesday that burned 10,610 acres across the state and also continued work on carryover fires and responded to two fires that rekindled and moved across containment lines.

Several wildfires exhibited extreme fire behavior caused by dry live and dead vegetation, increased wind speeds and triple digit temperatures.

Fire crews experienced high resistance to control with active crown fire in juniper and mesquite vegetation, where the fire transitions from the surface to the canopy.

Very hot temperatures and mostly dry conditions during the week will decrease live and dead fuel moistures in vegetation through Friday for much of the state where a general trend of increasing wildfire activity is likely for Central, East and South Texas.

By the weekend, a pattern change is expected when a forecast cold front moves through the state.

As a result, a seasonable cool and moist fire environment will limit potential for wildfire activity on Saturday and Sunday.

“Minimal rainfall, hot and dry conditions and an intensifying drought continue to support wildfire activity across the state,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “Due to conditions, these wildfires are requiring more time and resources to contain. Texas A&M Forest Service continues to support local fire departments and has situated additional resources to the areas of concern.”

Several wildfires, including the Mesquite Heat Fire in Taylor County, are still actively burning across the state with approximately 1,500-acres, the wildfire prompted evacuations, road closures and has destroyed structures.

At this time, the number and type of structures is unconfirmed. A post-fire assessment team has been mobilized to the fire to assess the damage.

Texas A&M Forest Service is monitoring the current situation closely and has positioned personnel and equipment across the state for a quick and effective response to any requests for assistance.

Fully staffed task forces and additional suppression equipment are staged across the state. Additionally, 123 personnel from other states are currently in Texas to support wildfire response efforts.

Texas A&M Forest Service has requested the mobilization of eight additional strike teams for wildfire incident support.

If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.

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