Governor Abbott Issues Disaster Declaration For Texas Wildfires

February 27, 2024 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a disaster declaration for 60 Texas counties in response to widespread wildfire activity throughout the state. Additional counties may be added if conditions warrant. Governor Abbott also directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to activate additional state emergency response resources to support local firefighters responding to multiple wildfires burning Texas.
“I issued a disaster declaration today to ensure critical fire response resources are swiftly deployed to areas in the Texas Panhandle being impacted by devastating wildfires,” said Governor Abbott. “The State of Texas stands ready to provide support to our local partners and deploy all resources needed to protect our fellow Texans and their property. Hot and dry conditions caused by high temperatures and windy conditions are expected to continue in the region in the coming days. These conditions could increase the potential for these wildfires to grow larger and more dangerous. Texans are urged to limit activities that could create sparks and take precautions to keep their loved ones safe. I also want to thank the brave firefighters and first responders who are working tirelessly to protect their fellow Texans.”
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, dry conditions and above-normal temperatures resulted in areas of the state facing an increased risk of wildfire. Paired with increased wind speeds, these areas are supportive of wildfire activity. The Texas A&M Forest Service reports that several large wildfires ignited yesterday under warm, dry, and windy conditions across the Texas Panhandle. Strong forecasted winds will likely impact these wildfires, causing them to grow larger. There is a possibility for wildfire activity to occur where an abundant amount of dormant grasses are present on the landscape in areas near and around them, including the Panhandle, South Plains, Texoma, and Permian Basin regions. Portions of East Texas also face increased wildfire risk amid active burns.
The Texas A&M Forest Service yesterday raised the Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 2 due to an increase in current and expected wildfire activity.
At the Governor’s direction, TDEM has activated the following state emergency response resources to support wildfire response operations:

  • Texas A&M Forest Service: Over 95 firefighters, heavy equipment such as bulldozers and motor graders; All Hazard Incident Management Team personnel; 5 Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System strike teams comprised of over 95 personnel and over 25 fire engines
  • Texas Division of Emergency Management: Emergency response personnel to support requests for assistance from local officials
  • Texas National Guard: CH47 Chinook helicopter with firefighting capability
  • Texas Department of Transportation: Personnel and equipment to assist with road closures and fuel for firefighting support
  • Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Emergency Medical Task Force): Wildland Fire Support Packages including paramedics and ambulances
  • Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas Highway Patrol Troopers to assist with road closures and traffic control
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Disaster Assessment and Recovery Agents as well as AgriLife Extension Agents to support agricultural and livestock needs
  • Texas Animal Health Commission: Personnel to provide livestock support
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: Air/water/wastewater monitoring

Texans are encouraged to make an emergency plan, limit activities that may cause sparks or flames, follow directions from officials, and keep emergency supplies easily accessible. Texans can visit and for wildfire tips and safety information.

Read the Governor's disaster declaration here.