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CURRENT WILDFIRE SITUATION

Recent response:

· In the past seven days, Texas Forest Service responded to 71 fires burning136,699 acres.

· Yesterday (Monday, Feb. 28), Texas Forest Service responded to 11 fires burning 247 acres.

· The following large fires from Sunday were contained: Tom (Martin/Andrews counties), McCellean (Haskell County), Williams (Crockett County), 2526 (Eastland) and Quinn Ranch (Howard County).

· 146 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

· After working numerous fires Sunday and Monday, most of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams will begin demobilizing Tuesday evening. The 12 strike teams were mobilized from fire departments across the state to provide a rapid response in anticipation of Sunday’s wind event. They played a critical role in dozens of fires, including the Tanglewood Complex, Matador West, Quinn Ranch, the Accident Fire and the fire that burned into Colorado City.

· One Regional Incident Management Team (RIMT) remains in Amarillo, assisting a TFS team with post-disaster assessments on the Willow and Tanglewood complexes. Four RIMTs remain in Lubbock, Midland, Brownwood, and Mineral Wells to assist with the TIFMAS demobilization and resource tracking process.

Ready to respond:

· There are elevated fire weather concerns today in Southeast Texas, West Texas and the Panhandle.

· A warm, progressive pattern continues. Starting Sunday, we’re going to see a drying pattern across the state.

· The development of a surface trough across the West Texas Plains will favor the return of gusty south and southwest winds. This will signal a warm up, and with dry air already in place, minimum relative humidity values will be driven down well below 15 percent.

· Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-70s, with winds of 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 30 in the Panhandle, as well as in Abilene and Childress.

· As such, elevated fire weather concerns will be focused primarily across the Plains. There will still be dry air over a large part of the state, including the Hill Country but with less wind as the surface high pressure slowly moves off to the east. Relative humidity values will trend up along the coastal regions but still not above 35 percent as winds trend down from yesterday.

Prevention messages:

· If you get rain, don’t think the drought is over. Fuels dry out quickly with higher temperatures and increased winds.

· Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.

· Any fire can threaten homes and communities, including your own.

· Be aware that high winds can cause downed power lines. Take precautions to protect your home and family.

· If you see a fire, call authorities.

· Abundant fuel = high-impact fire potential. Any spark can be deadly.

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