Texas activates nine state agencies to fight wildfires

March 1, 2024

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called on nine state agencies to assist with fighting wildfires in the Lone Star State’s panhandle region this week as part of a disaster declaration for 60 counties

Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to activate those agencies’ emergency-response resources to support firefighters responding to multiple wildfires burning in Texas.

“Hot and dry conditions caused by high temperatures and windy conditions are expected to continue in the region in the coming days,” Abbott said. “These conditions could increase the potential for these wildfires to grow larger and more dangerous.”

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, dry conditions and above-normal temperatures increased the risk of wildfires throughout the state. With increased wind speeds, these areas are conducive to wildfire activity.

The forest service earlier this week raised the Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 2 due to an increase in current and expected wildfire activity.

“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,” according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Here’s the breakdown of the agencies called upon to help with fighting Texas’ wildfires:

  • Texas A&M Forest Service: Over 95 firefighters, heavy equipment such as bulldozers and motor graders; All Hazard Incident Management Team personnel; five 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.

Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter

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