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Texas A&M Forest Service continues to help western states battle wildfires

Texas A&M Forest Service continues to help western states battle wildfires

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Fire Engine

A fire engine stands ready at the Trail Creek Fire in Montana.

The Texas A&M Forest Service continues to send firefighters, overhead and equipment to respond to wildfires burning across the country.

There are large fires burning across the U.S., nearly all of them in the west, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. More than 21,000 wildland firefighters and overhead support are committed to these incidents.

Since June, 174 of Texas’ agency personnel have responded to wildfire incidents in other states. More than 50 agency employees are assisting with suppression efforts in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

“Our experienced personnel will continue to bolster wildfire response across the country,” said Al Davis, Texas A&M Forest Service interim director. “We are privileged to be in a position to assist our counterparts in the west, just as they have assisted us in the past.”

Texas A&M Forest Service personnel are highly skilled and well-trained to meet the needs of these incidents. Firefighters are held to rigorous fitness standards, ensuring they can work 16-hour days in adverse conditions while hiking through rugged terrain.

Agency staff who respond to incidents, including firefighters and overhead support, must complete required training and educational courses throughout the year to maintain their qualifications.

Preparedness levels

Due to significant wildfire activity occurring in multiple geographic areas across the country and heavy commitment of shared resources to large fires nationally, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group raised the National Preparedness Level to Level 5 on July 14. This is the earliest in the year that it has been raised to Level 5 in a decade.

Preparedness Levels are dictated by vegetative fuel and weather conditions, wildfire activity and fire suppression resource availability throughout the country. Level 5 is the highest level of wildland fire activity and indicates heavy resource commitment to wildfires nationally.

The state of Texas is currently at Level 1. Wildfire activity continues to trend below normal across the state. Conditions are forecast to become warmer and drier. However, fire potential is anticipated to remain low due to recent rainfall, increased fuel moistures and cooler temperatures.

Texas A&M Forest Service remains dedicated to protecting Texas’ residents, property and natural resources from wildfire and all-hazard incidents, even as national activity increases. The agency is continuing to monitor conditions and assess needs locally.

For current conditions and wildfire outlook, visit the Texas Fire Potential Outlook at https://bit.ly/3kemhbG.

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