March 21, 2011 – Beginning around noon Tuesday, extremely critical fire weather conditions are predicted west of Big Bend, San Angelo and Wichita Falls, including major cities such as Lubbock, Childress, Abilene, Midland, Odessa and Amarillo.
Texas Forest Service officials say the prediction is based on a combination of high winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures – an occurrence Texans can expect to see frequently for the next couple of months.
When high-impact conditions are aligned – as expected on Tuesday – wildfire can spread at a rate of 4 mph, the equivalent of wildfire burning the length of a football field in one minute. Additionally, flame lengths in grass could reach 12 to 14 feet, or the equivalent of a one-story building.
Texas Forest Service has staged resources – including bulldozers, fire engines and aircraft – to respond to the potential threat on Tuesday.
In the past seven days alone, Texas Forest Service has responded to 73 fires burning 2,300 acres. Of Texas’ 254 counties, 172 are reporting burn bans.
Several recent fires have been caused by outdoor debris burning. Residents throughout the state of Texas should avoid outdoor activities that could generate a spark or open flames. Clear combustible materials away from your home and refrain from outdoor burning until the fire threat decreases and burn bans are lifted.