Texas A&M Forest Service preparing for wildfire season in the panhandle

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:12 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Texas A&M Forest Service in the panhandle region has already begun preparing for wildfire season and bringing in extra help.

When the ground is dry and winds are high in the Texas Panhandle, the Texas A&M Forest Service says all they can do is prepare for is if a fire were to break out.

“We do have multiple resources available in the state of Texas that we will ramp up and send over to areas where it is needed to meet the demands of the fire hazard that is there currently,” said James DeGrazia, Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service.

Extra staff has already arrived in the panhandle to help if fires were to ignite.

“All we can do is just be prepared. We all know it’s not when a wildfire happens, it’s where it happens that creates the most significant impact,” said DeGrazia.

About eight additional firefighters are here. They will stay two weeks and then other firefighters will replace them.

All this in preparation for wildfires.

“The longer it stays dry, the longer that wildfire season lasts and the worst it gets,” said NewsChannel10′s Chief Meteorologist Doppler Dave Oliver.

“One we have all those ingredients lined up, it’s in all of our best interests to be prepared,” said DeGrazia.

NewsChannel10′s Chief Meteorologist Doppler Dave Oliver says if winter events like the one, we expect to see the next few days bring moisture, could be a good thing.

“If these systems start to come in fairly regularly, I think we’ll have either a normal or below normal wildfire season,” said Oliver.

Regardless of the amount of snow or rain the Texas Panhandle gets, Doppler Dave says the preparation being done by the Texas A&M Forest Service is needed.

“We’ve lost more lives due to wildfires than tornados. We’ve lost more property to wildfires than we have to severe weather. Even if we just have one or two bad fires, we need to be ready because they can turn disastrous in a hurry,” said Oliver.

The Forest Service is also working with area fire departments as well as services in surrounding states to prepare if additional equipment is needed for a fire or if a fire extends into multiple states.

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