SAN ANGELO, Texas – As of August 20th, the Texas A & M Forest Services has responded to 8,505 wildfires with 642,122 acres burned since January 1st. According to a release from Texas A & M Forest Services, state and local fire resources have responded to an average of 4,047 wildfires for 188,259 burned acres over the past five years.
In the past eight months of 2022, Texas A & M Forest Services have seen almost a 50% increase in this year’s wildfires compared to averages for the past five years.
The Eastland Complex, located in Central Texas, landed itself 22nd among the largest wildfires that Texas has faced. According to Texas A & M, the blaze ignited a total of 54,513 acres in March and took the life of Eastland County Deputy Barbara Fenley when she was trying to evacuate others.
As drought conditions continued across the state, 224 counties were placed under a burn ban on July 25th. This is the most the state has seen since October 24, 2011, according to Texas A & M Forest Services. Along with burn bans continuing in most counties throughout the summer, Governor Greg Abbott issued a drought declaration for 189 counties also in July.
On August 23rd the Texas A & M Forest Service shared on the Incident Information Twitter profile that little to no fire activity it anticipated for the week of August 24th. With temperatures dropping and counties like Mason receiving 5.03 inches of rain in three days, all of Texas falls in a low or moderate fire danger rate according to the forecast fire danger map from Texas A & M Forest Services.
As of August 25th, 166 Texas counties remain under a burn ban according to Texas A & M Forest Services. Concho Valley counties that have lifted their burn bans include Sterling, Irion, Sutton, Mason, and McCulloch County.
Tom Green, Concho, Menard, Schleicher, Kimble, Runnels, and Coke County all remain under a burn ban.
Of those fighting these blazes that ignited Texas this year, 69.9% of firefighters are volunteers according to the National Fire Department Registry. In addition to volunteers and the 300 Texas A&M Forest Service firefighters, there are 1,080 firefighters from land management agencies across the nation and via the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System mobilized by the agency to assist with wildfire response.
Texas A&M Forest Service says they also positioned 40 aircraft at 17 airports across the state to respond to wildfire incidents. Texas A&M Forest Service does not own any aviation resources but instead uses federal aviation contracts through the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for all firefighting aircraft.