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Texas

Texas A&M Fire Department warns of increased wildfire danger as cold front approaches

WACO, TX (KWTX) – As potential wildfire activity escalates, Texas A&M Forest Service firefighting resources are ready to respond as a cold front moves into the state this week.

The organization monitors communities near Amarillo, Childress, Lubbock, San Angelo, Wichita Falls, Abilene, and Eastland.

“Dry, dormant grasses will be exposed to elevated or critical fire weather and temperatures well above normal ahead of an approaching cold front,” said Luke Kunklers, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Service Analyst. “The risk of significant fires that are very resistant to control is expected to be limited due to the lack of critically dry fuel and less grass seen in the West Texas landscape.”

Last year grass production was limited during the growing season due to drought and grazing. Sub-standard grass production can limit wildfire growth and help firefighters contain wildfires.

The likelihood of wildfires is expected to shift south and east on Thursday as a cold front leaves the state.

Increased post-front fire weather combined with dry, dormant grass could increase the likelihood of wildfires in communities near Waco, San Antonio, Austin, Victoria, Kingsville and Brownsville/McAllen, according to the fire department.

The threat of large and significant fires for these areas will remain low.

In Texas, the dormant fire season occurring in winter and spring is typically characterized by grass freezing on the landscape and increased wind speeds around dry cold fronts.

Frozen grasses are a catalyst for the dormant fire season, requiring less drying and moderate fire weather for wildfire activity.

After a hard frost on December 23-24, 2022, freeze-cured dormant grasses appeared across the state.

The Texas A&M Forest Service is urging the public to avoid outdoor activities that can cause sparks in dry, windy conditions.

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