Critical fire weather conditions present over first March weekend

Feb. 28, 2018 — AMARILLO, Texas — Critical and elevated wildfire conditions will be present over portions of Western Texas and the Panhandle beginning Wednesday and continuing through the weekend.

The areas of concern include Amarillo, Lubbock and Childress.

“The area has increased grass loading and the very dry air that has been present for the past few days combined with the drought, it does not take long for these fuels to dry out after any moisture,” said Fire Analyst Brad Smith. “On Wednesday, we have a chance for an increased significant wildfire potential, along with increased initial attack on wildfires.”

Increased fire activity is a concern due to expected sustained wind speeds of 20 to 30 mph combining with slightly above normal seasonal temperatures, low relative humidity and a dry line — a boundary that separates moist air mass from dry air — forming over the region.

Follow your local meteorologist or the National Weather Service for weather updates.

Texas A&M Forest Service is monitoring the situation closely and is working with local response departments as we preposition state resources, including continued staffing of a Single Engine Air Tanker base in Amarillo and heavy jet air tanker is staged in Oklahoma.

  • With high fire danger, caution should be used with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. It only takes one spark to start a wildfire.
  • Postpone outdoor burning until conditions improve.
  • Avoid parking and idling in tall, dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass under a vehicle.
  • Avoid setting hot chainsaws or other hot, gas-powered equipment in dry grass.
  • Wildfires burning in grass can spread and grow extremely fast. It is important that if you spot a wildfire you report it immediately to local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.

Visit tfsweb.tamu.edu/currentsituation,or follow @allhazardstfs on Twitter for Texas wildfire information.

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