March 7, 2017 — AMARILLO, Texas — Multiple wildfires are still burning across the Texas Panhandle following yesterday’s elevated fire conditions across the Southern Plains.
Texas A&M Forest Service responded to three large fires for 325,680 acres.
The Dumas Complex Fire, in Potter County near the city of Amarillo, ignited amid humidity values in the single digits and winds gusting in excess of 50 mph. The fire spread rapidly and threatened hundreds of homes. It is currently an estimated 29,197 acres and 75 percent contained.
The Perryton Fire, in Ochiltree, Lipscomb and Hemphill counties is burning in grass and brush and is estimated at more than 315,135 acres. The fire moved rapidly and threatened the towns of Higgins and Glazier. Interagency firefighters were able to protect the towns by diverting the fire away from the communities. Two homes have been reported destroyed.
Texas A&M Forest Service is responding to a request of assistance on wildfire in Gray County named the Lefors East Fire. It is estimated at 92,571 acres and 25 percent contained.
Texas A&M Forest Service and the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center predictive services had forecast extreme fire weather for the northwest half of the Panhandle and critical fire weather west of a line from Childress to Midland.
Winds across the Panhandle should subside for Wednesday, but elevated fire conditions return to the area Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Texas A&M Forest Service is working with Department of Public Safety, local fire departments and other interagency resources. The Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System has been activated sending fire engine strike teams to Amarillo and other staging areas in the Panhandle.
In anticipation of continued windy fronts for at least the remainder of the month, Texas A&M Forest Service is activating the heavy airtanker base in Abilene and anticipates having a 3,000-gallon jet in place by the end of this week.
These types of aircraft can carry up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant to be dropped in an effort to slow the spread of wildfires. Please remember that drones and other non-incident response aircraft are a safety hazard around wildfires and their presence will result in the grounding of firefighting aircraft. For safety reasons, a temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the wildfires.
Visit tfsweb.tamu.edu/currentsituation or follow @allhazardstfs on twitter for wildfire information in Texas.
Phillip Truitt, Communications Specialist 979-255-0591, firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office; 979-458-6606; email@example.com