AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Conditions are high for a grass fire in our area. The wind, heat, and lack of rain have created the ideal environment for grass fires. The Storm Prediction Center has issued an alert putting parts of the panhandle in "Extremely Critical" conditions for wild fire potential.
The Texas A&M Forest Service is ready for action if the need arises. The Forest Service in Amarillo is always fully staffed at this time of year. But, this week to stay at full staff they have called in some workers from east Texas because the danger in that area is not as great. Sometimes if the need is there they work with federal and national organizations, but this depends on the size, damage and danger of the fire.
Troy Ducheneaux from the Texas A&M Forest Service talked to us about how much more equipment they use around this time of year and how they need your help to prevent fires. Troy says that 90% of grass fires in are area are started by humans and to prevent fires in the area he stresses that prevention is key.
Some ways that you can prevent wild fires are:
- postpone outdoor burning until conditions improve.
- With high fire danger, caution should be used with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. It only takes one spark to start a wildfire.
- Dispose of smoking materials properly. Extinguish them in an ash tray. Don’t throw them out of a window.
- Avoid parking and idling in tall, dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass under a vehicle.
- Avoid setting hot chainsaws or other hot, gas-powered equipment in dry grass.
- Wildfires burning in grass can spread and grow extremely fast. It is important that if you spot a wildfire you report it immediately to local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.
The panhandle branch of the Forest Service is also receiving equipment from other parts of Texas to help fight fires. They have water planes standing by at Rick Husband Airport, but if the need arises they can have additional support from Abilene and from Oklahoma. They are also receiving trucks from the Dallas area to help fight any fires in the area.
You can help crews prevent fires by being careful outside and using extreme caution when dealing with sparks or flames. Report any fires and their location to authorities immediately.
A Red Flag Warning remains in effect from noon today to 6 p.m. tonight.