Recent response:

· In the past seven days, Texas Forest Service responded to 63 fires for 132,837 acres.

· Yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 27), Texas Forest Service responded to 21 fires for 120,854 acres, including large fires in Mitchell, Howard, Potter, Randall, Motley, Andrews, Martin, Haskell, Scurry, Eastland, Midland and Crockett counties.

· 144 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

Large fires from yesterday (more than 300 acres):

MITCHELL COUNTY COMPLEX, Howard/Mitchell counties: 7,000 acres. This fire started in Howard County and burned close to two other fires in Mitchell County. The fires have burned around Big Spring and Colorado City. Twelve homes were destroyed and three damaged. A nursing home in Colorado City was evacuated. A Texas Forest Service Type 3 incident management team was deployed Sunday evening from the command post in Abilene.

WILLOW CREEK SOUTH COMPLEX, Potter County: 30,000 acres. Fire started on the northeast side of Amarillo and was burning away from the city. Thirty homes were destroyed.

TANGLEWOOD COMPLEX, Randall County: 2,000 acres. This is a complex of three fires burning near Canyon. Thirty homes were destroyed.

MATADOR WEST, Motley County: 40,000 acres. Two homes were destroyed. The fire is burning on the edge of the town of Matador. The entire town was evacuated.

HOCKLEY, Hockley County: 5,000 acres. The fire is burning three miles southwest of Levelland. Four homes were destroyed.

TOM, Andrews/Martin counties: 21,000 acres. The fire is burning 17 miles northeast of Andrews.

McCELLEAN, Haskell County: 300 acres. One home and five outbuildings were lost. It is burning 10 miles east of Stamford.

SHEPARDS COMPLEX, Scurry County: 4,000 acres. This complex is made up of five fires and is burning 12 miles southwest of Snyder.

2526, Eastland County: 700 acres. Twenty homes saved; one was lost.

ARNOT, Randall County: 425 acres. Twenty homes and the Canyon Country Club were saved.

WILLIAMS, Crockett County: 1,800 acres. An evacuation of Barnhart was in progress until winds shifted and pushed the fire south. Forty homes were saved.

BRISCOE, Briscoe County: 1,000 acres. The fire is burning 12 miles northwest of Silverton.

QUINN, Howard County: 500 acres. The fire is burning on the west side of Big Spring. Evacuations were ordered for more than 100 homes. Three prisons were threatened.

Ready to respond:

· Critical fire weather conditions will spread southward through a good portion of the remainder of the state today. Red Flag Warnings are posted for the Hill Country into a good portion of the Coastal Plains.

· It should be noted that windy and dry post frontal conditions in the Deep South Texas is a critical fire weather pattern. Dry air will linger across west and north Texas, but winds will generally be less than 15 mph and be from the north and northwest, and temperatures will be much cooler.

· Numerous helicopters, single-engine air tankers, air attack aircraft and a heavy air tanker are available to respond today as winds are expected to subside slightly.

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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