Texas A&M Forest Service sends additional personnel to fight wildfires burning in western states

Crews will remain on assignment 14-21 days before returning to Texas

By Leighton Chachere,

More than 70 Texas A&M Forest Service personnel are currently deployed to wildfire incidents across multiple western states, including Arizona, California, Idaho and Montana.

Texas A&M Forest Service heads west to aid with wildfires (Photo by Matt Ford, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator)According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 70 large fires are burning across the United States, with more than 17,700 wildland firefighters and overhead personnel committed to these incidents.

In early July, Texas A&M Forest Service deployed the Lone Star State Type II Initial Attack Hand Crew to Northern California. This 20-person crew is supporting the Modoc National Forest as an initial attack resource. Most recently, the crew assisted on the 1,011-acre Juniper Fire, which is now fully contained according to the USDA Forest Service.

“With continued hot and dry conditions out west, wildfire activity and the need for fire resources is increasing,” said Les Rogers, Texas A&M Forest Service Chief of Fire Operations and Incident Response department head. “We are proud to send skilled personnel to help fight these wildfires.”

In addition to the hand crew, a 10-person suppression module, six engine crews, two dozer crews and multiple overhead personnel are currently deployed out of state. All resources will complete an assignment lasting 14-21 days before returning to Texas.

Preparedness levels

Due to significant fire 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 has raised the National Preparedness Level to Level 5.

Preparedness levels are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire 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 fires nationally.

The state of Texas is currently at Level 1. The pattern of increased moisture from late June is continuing into July and wildfire activity continues to trend below normal. Wildfire potential across the state remains low at this time.

Texas A&M Forest Service remains dedicated to protecting Texas’ citizens 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.

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