Governor Abbott, TDEM Activate Additional State Resources For Escalated Fire Weather Conditions in Texas
Governor Greg Abbott today directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to activate additional state resources as escalated fire weather conditions continue to impact the state this week. In addition, the Texas State Emergency Operations Center (SOC) is increasing readiness to Level II: Escalated Response for Critical Fire Weather Conditions. Representatives from key state agencies belonging to the Emergency Management Council will report to the SOC beginning Thursday, March 17 at 7:00 AM CT to assist in the state's response to fire weather conditions.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center shows elevated to critical risk of wildfire conditions in areas west of Interstate 35 over the next several days, due to high winds and low relative humidity. The Texas A&M Forest Service anticipates the greatest impacts are expected in the Big Country, Permian Basin, Texoma, West Texas, Hill Country, and border regions.
"The State of Texas is elevating its response and increasing resources to address any potential wildfire activity," said Governor Abbott. "We thank our firefighters and emergency response personnel who are working around the clock to protect our communities. Texans are encouraged to remain weather-aware and practice wildfire safety diligently through the rest of the week to keep their communities safe."
Personnel from the following state agencies have been requested to report to the SOC:
- Texas A&M Forest Service
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- Texas Department of Transportation
- Texas Military Department
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Public Utility Commission of Texas
- Railroad Commission of Texas
The following additional resources have been activated:
- Texas A&M Forest Service (TAMFS): Four firefighting strike teams from the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS), including 100 firefighters and 20 fire engines
- Texas Military Department (TMD): Six helicopters with firefighting capability
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD): Two firefighting brush trucks
- Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (TX EMTF): Two paramedic/advanced life-support Wildland Fire Support Packages
This brings the activated TIFMAS resources to 10 strike teams including approximately 250 firefighters and 50 fire engines.
Texans in the areas of concern are encouraged to create an evacuation plan, heed the guidance of local officials, and create an emergency kit that includes supplies such as food and water, important documents, necessary prescriptions, and other personal items.
The newly-activated assets are mobilizing in addition to state resources that were rostered earlier in the week by the Texas A&M Forest Service, including:
- Six TIFMAS strike teams comprised of approximately 150 firefighters and 30 fire engines
- Fully-staffed task forces located across the state with additional personnel and equipment for support
- Strategically-placed fireline supervisors, command staff, and incident commanders with advanced qualifications
- Aviation resources including: two large airtankers, 12 single engine air tankers, four air attack platforms, three type 1 helicopters, two type 3 helicopters, and one aerial supervision module
Two TX EMTF Wildland Fire Support Packages and two Rapid Extraction Modules (REMs) remain on standby to be deployed if necessary.