Texas A&M Forest Service mobilizes equipment/personnel for fire increased fire activity

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - The past four to six weeks of triple digit temperatures and dry conditions coupled with the wind has led to an uptick in fire activity across the state and here in the Permian Basin.

The Texas A&M Forest Service has mobilized equipment and personnel across the state to assist in response with the current uptick in fire activity across the state.

“Bringing in additional personnel, firefighters, engines, equipment, all that kind of stuff to assist with response,” said Lead Public Information Officer Erin O’Connor.

The Forest Service is the lead agency for the state’s wildfire response.

“This is kind of the first big big increase in activity we’ve seen this year. We’ve had a pretty below normal amount of activity for the year,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor says due to current conditions, they are urging caution. Especially in areas with burn bans in effect, like Midland County.

“We have seen an uptick in fires, across the board, grass fires, some house fires, structure fires and even apartment fires. We’ve had a couple of those in the past month or so,” said Midland Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian McGary.

McGary says they refresh their crews on how to fight grass fires ahead of the summer season.

“The West Texas winds out here and so they can make a small fire much larger quicker, you couple that with the dryness of the grass and these fires you know they can go 15, 20 miles an hour it’s hard to keep up with them in our brush rigs,” said McGary.

O’Connor says in Texas 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans usually unintentionally.

Both agencies are in contact with each other as well as other neighboring departments, to help with response if need be. The Forest Service also has an office in Fort Stockton.

“It’s a good location as far as if you need to get to the Davis Mountains or some of those areas that are a bit further out West Texas if we stage crews there it’s pretty easy for them to access some of the typical areas that we see fire activity out west,” said O’Connor.

Be mindful of the burn ban as conditions are more susceptible to fires and if you are around fires make sure you have a way to put them out.