AUSTIN (KXAN) — A significant increase in the wildfire activity in Central Texas and across the state is the reason the Texas A&M Forest Service has increased its Wildfire Preparedness Level to Level 4. This has also been done due to the potential of more of these wildfires becoming more severe as time goes by.
Over the past seven days, local and state firefighters have battled as many as 119 wildfires that have burned 9,012 acres.
Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans spoke with Karen Stafford from the Texas A&M Forest Service.
She said rising to Level 4 has more to do with the volume of the wildfires, resulting in an increase in the commitment of the resources needed to battle these fires. She added we’ve been here before; during the summer of 2022, the Forest Service reached Level 5.
If Level 5 would be needed this year, it would not only take into account the volume of these wildfires but also how complex they become to manage.
What would it take to get to Level 5 this year? She said that is not an easy question to manage.
She admitted firefighters are not only battling with the wildfires themselves but also fatigue and heat stress.
The Forest Service is forecasting an extreme fire danger from broad regions of Texas, including the area from Dallas to Waco to Austin to San Antonio westward to Wichita Falls and Abilene.
Critical fire weather is characterized by increased wind speeds to go along with these triple-digit temperatures. They align with the very dry vegetation that leads to the increased potential for wildfires.