State resources are being pre-deployed as extreme wildfire conditions persist and intensify across Texas, especially for counties west of I-35 over the next few days. Gov. Perry's renewed disaster proclamation remains in effect for all Texas counties, making those counties eligible to request assistance as needed to recover from wildfires.
"It is crucial that we take steps to prepare for and respond to the extreme wildfire conditions across our state and protect threatened communities," Gov. Perry said. "Wildfires can start quickly, spread quickly and destroy quickly. I urge all Texans to heed warnings from their local officials, adhere to burn bans and make plans to keep their families out of harm's way."
Wildfire danger continues across parts of Texas where high winds and rainfall deficits have dried grass and other vegetation across the state, posing significant fire danger.
To prepare for this threat, the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) has been activated. Fire prevention and response resources, including 16 fire engines, 4 command vehicles and 36 personnel from local fire departments, are deploying to areas under the greatest risk, including Brownwood, Lubbock, Midland and Mineral Wells. These resources will adjust location according to the changing wildfire threat and local needs. TIFMAS is a network of Texas fire departments willing to provide emergency resources to neighboring communities during the threat of disasters.
Additional state resources responding to the extreme fire danger include:
* Texas Forest Service has activated the Merkel Incident Command Post located in Abilene.
* Texas Military Forces, including four Blackhawk helicopters, stand ready for rapid deployment to assist with fire suppression efforts (two Blackhawks are stationed in Austin and two are in San Antonio).
* Texas Department of Transportation is currently staging dozers and other resources in the affected areas.
The governor issued an Emergency Disaster Proclamation on December 21, 2010, which was subsequently renewed on January 19, 2011 and again on February 17, 2011. The disaster proclamation remains in effect as extreme wildfire conditions persist. Burn bans are currently active in 144 counties. To see the list of these counties, please visit http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/decban.png.
Since January, Texas has responded to 1,937 fires across the state that have burned 153,917 acres. Eleven homes have been destroyed, and rescue efforts have saved 1,131 threatened homes.
For more information on preparing for wildfire threats, please visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=8512
The State Operations Center continues to work closely with the Texas Forest Service, National Weather Service and other state and local entities to monitor this severe wildfire threat.
To view the governor's renewed disaster proclamation, please visit