In light of the wildfire weather conditions in West Texas, which are anticipated to linger until early next week, Governor Greg Abbott yesterday (31 March) ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to activate additional state firefighting resources in support of local authorities.
The State of Texas continues to regularly monitor wildfire activity across the state, and we remain ready to swiftly deploy any critical resources needed to ensure emergency responders on the ground can keep Texans safe.
“As communities in West Texas continue to experience fire-prone weather conditions, we are activating additional emergency resources to help local officials respond quickly to ongoing wildfire threats,” said Governor Abbott. Texas residents are urged to exercise caution and pay attention to their state and local officials’ instructions.
Directing @TDEM to deploy additional emergency response resources to assist local officials responding to wildfire threats in West Texas.
Texas is ready to help first responders protecting our communities.
I urge Texans to remain vigilant & heed guidance from local officials. pic.twitter.com/mozTyoyWeD
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 31, 2023
In the western half of the state, the risk of wildfires has grown to a critical level due to dry vegetation, low humidity, and strong winds.
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The Panhandle, South Plains, Permian Basin, Big Country, Concho Valley, and Texoma regions are expected to see fire weather conditions over the weekend. Also, the Governor instructed TDEM to prepare resources in case of impending severe weather in the state’s eastern region.
The following state wildfire resources were activated today by TDEM at the Governor’s request:
- One Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike team made up of roughly 15 firemen and five fire engines was deployed by the Texas A&M Forest Service.
- Two Wildland Fire Support Packages with paramedics and an ambulance, as well as one Rapid Extraction Module with paramedics and all-terrain vehicles, are provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Emergency Medical Task Force.
The Governor directed TDEM to deploy these resources along with the state’s wildfire response resources yesterday in anticipation of wildfire conditions, bringing the total number of deployed firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft to over 65.
All members of the Texas Emergency Management Council have been warned by TDEM to be ready to assist with wildfire response and recovery efforts across the state.
TDEM and the Texas Emergency Management Council are keeping an eye on and preparing for severe weather threats in the eastern half of the state in addition to fire weather conditions. Large hail, powerful gusts, copious rain, and even tornadoes are among the risks.
The following state resources have been prepared by TDEM for activation as needed to support severe weather response operations:
Extreme weather packages with paramedics and an ambulance are available from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Emergency Medical Task Force.
Texans are urged to heed the advice of local and state authorities, establish a plan, have emergency supplies close at hand, and stay away from activities that could start a fire.
TexasReady.gov has information on wildfire safety, while ready.gov/severe-weather has advice on how to prepare for severe weather.
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