Mineral Wells Area News

Press Release:Elevated Fire Risk in Palo Pinto County

February 15
03:05 2022

Starting today, Monday February 14th, we are expecting to see an increase in wildfires across the state. North Texas will see increased numbers of fires, especially west of I-35, on Monday and then dependent on how much rain we get Wednesday or Thursday we can also see more increased fires this next weekend. We are already receiving calls for assistance here in parker county, and have seen local fire departments responding to grass fires across Parker, Palo Pinto, Hood, and Wise counties.

Due to this increased danger we are expanding the number of resources we have available across the state. Including the local Texas A&M Forest Service (TAMFS) office here in Mineral Wells. Locally we will have 3 Bulldozers staffed and 5 fire engines, or a strike team, from the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS), all from North Texas as well. Across the rest of Texas, local TAMFS offices will be standing up additional resources to cover the widespread risk of fires, including 2 additional strike teams from TIFMAS located in Merkel and San Angelo. Our resources and personnel are prepared and standing by to assist local fire departments as they need assistance. We also have several aerial assets available to support our ground personnel. In Abilene we have 2 Large air Tankers (LATs), large aircraft capable of dropping thousands of gallons of retardant on a fire, and 2 air attacks, planes that fly around the fire and coordinate between aerial and ground resources. In Childress we have 3 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS), small planes similar to crop dusters that can drop 800 gallons of retardant on a fire, and another Air Attack. In Greenville we also have a helicopter that assists ground resources by dropping buckets of water on a target area.

Since January many fires have been started locally by debris burning or welding. Last week we had a 596 acre fire in Palo Pinto county that was caused by brush piles that threw embers into grass nearby and started multiple fires, that ultimately burned together to make 2 fires within a half mile of each other. One of the most important things that individuals can do to reduce wildfire risk is to be smart with fire in the outdoors. Many areas have Burn Bans on currently and these should be followed. These Burn Bans are installed for specific reasons including drought and dry fuels, and burning during a burn ban puts everyone around you at danger. When around fire make sure that you have a water source and remove grass from around your burn so that there is a lower risk of the fire spreading from where you are burning. This goes for welding as well, if you are out welding in a grassy area make sure that you have someone watching for fires and that you have a water source available nearby to quickly put out a fire that may start.

I will be available by phone or email every day this week from 8-8p due to increased staffing and I am happy to answer any questions or go further into detail if you are interested. For quick information on incidents that TAMFS is responding to check are the Incident Information twitter account: https://twitter.com/allhazardstfs?lang=en or Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ .

Thank you for your assistance in passing this information out and remember only you can prevent wildfires.

Adam Turner-Texas A&M Forest Service

Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator

Mineral Wells

940-468-0190 O

940-328-9158

Adam.Turner@tfs.tamu.edu

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