Texas Wildfire Danger: Texas A&M Forest Service Monitors in Real-Time

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The potential of wildfire in Texas consists of a variety of factors, including weather, types of fuel, and topography to name a few. These risks are assessed daily by the Texas A&M Forest Service, which monitors in real-time the daily fire potential of any particular area.

With their tool called the Texas Fire Danger Map, they can map the current wildfire risk throughout Texas in real-time, displaying present as well as forecasted fire danger levels. Remote, automated weather stations provide the weather information for the system, and the National Fire Danger Rating System processor issues a fire danger rating for the various parts of the state. For a better understanding of these ratings, Texas A&M has provided a Fire Danger Fact Sheet (in PDF format) which describes the system and the recommended usages of the ratings.

Texas Wildfire Risk: Texas A&M Forest Service Monitors in Real-Time

Photo: Facebook/Wildfire Education & Prevention – Texas A&M Forest Service

Over the coming days and months, we’ll be observing more of that beautiful springtime weather we love, as opposed to the cold, hard winter we’ve experienced in parts of this state. With that comes the risk of potentially drier areas, storm fronts bringing lightning strikes, and any number of wildfire factors that could increase the danger. Ahead of this potential, there are a few short-term mitigation measures and evasive techniques you can employ.

  • Try to develop a temporary lawn space approximately 10 to 30 feet in width around your home.
  • Clear and eliminate debris from your roof and gutters.
  • To remove or lessen “fuel ladders,” trim any trees that are 8 -10 feet in height. If possible, thin them too, making a space of roughly 10 feet between their tops.
  • Minimize the number of shrubs that exist beneath trees.
  • Make sure your firewood is stacked uphill from the house, at a decent distance.
Texas Wildfire Risk: Texas A&M Forest Service Monitors in Real-Time

Photo: Facebook/Texas A&M Forest Service

Long-term wildfire mitigation techniques are identified as follows:

  • Include fire-resistant plants in your landscaping plans, both in irrigated and non-irrigated parcels of your property.
  • If a tree is up against your home or has branches overhanging your roof, consider having them fully removed or, at the very least, trim the branches so that they’re unable to make contact with the roof or wall.
  • Where both feasible and possible, replace your existing roofing with a material which is fire-resistant.
  • Make sure that your lot number or address number is clearly displayed at the entrance to your driveway in case of emergency calls.

For more wildfire preparedness tips, visit the Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, the Texas A&M Forest Service, and learn from past experiences through FEMA. Stay safe everyone!