Texas Forest Service Raises Wildfire Threat

By Frank Heinz
|  Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011  |  Updated 10:30 AM CDT
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Texas Forest Service Raises Wildfire Threat

NBCDFW.com

With dry air and high winds, wildfires are a very real threat this week.

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The Texas Forest Service said Texas should be prepared for dangerous wildfires this week.

The dry, brown grass and brush covering much of the state, mixed with dry air and high winds are creating a cocktail where wildfires can spread quickly.

"The dry line alone isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Problems can occur, however, when a low pressure system moves over a dry line, which is what’s predicted for this week," said the TFS.

The TFS is primarily concerned with areas west of the Interstate 35 corridor.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the TFS said the following:

The Western Plains — an area west of a line extending from Wichita Falls to just east of San Angelo to Del Rio — is a particular hotspot, though wildfire officials warn that all areas west of I-35 are at risk.

“People need to be aware of how critical a situation this is, particularly with vegetation that’s so tall and so dry. It’s very easy for a fire to start, spread and get out of hand,” said Tom Spencer, Texas Forest Service Predictive Services department head.

“If a fire starts accidentally in your neighborhood, be on the alert. If they ask you to evacuate, by all means, do it.”

To ensure they are ready for any outbreak of fire, the TFS is positioning helicopters and airplanes designed to aid in fighting fires in Fredricksburg, Abilene and Sweetwater.

In the last week, the agency said htey were called to battle 30 wildfires in Texas that charred nearly 5,500 acres. The group joined firefighters in saving more than 50 homes, as well as the entire city of Tye west of Abilene.

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