Texas Governor Greg Abbott took steps Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, to prepare for potential wildfires in the Panhandle and South Plains region, which Terry County is part of. Gov. Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to ready and activate resources ahead of elevated conditions for fire danger in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains. These resources will support local officials’ response to wildfires if fires exceed local capabilities.
The Texas A&M Forest Service warns that wildfire-prone conditions caused by underlying drought aligned with dryness, increased wind speeds, freeze cured grasses, an abundance of vegetation on the landscape, and elevated to critical fire weather are expected to become progressively more hazardous in the Panhandle and South Plains beginning Thursday, December 9th through Friday, December 10th and potentially through the weekend.
“The State of Texas is fully prepared to assist communities in the Panhandle and South Plains that are at risk of potential wildfire activity this week,” said Governor Abbott. “We will continue to coordinate with local partners and monitor fire conditions to ensure resources are readily available, and I encourage Texans to heed the guidance of local officials and take proper precautions ahead of potential fires.”
The following resources were deployed through the Texas A&M Forest Service: two Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams, including 50 firefighting personnel and 10 fire engines; three Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS); and one air attack aerial supervision aircraft. The following resources have also been readied to be deployed if necessary: six Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams with 150 personnel and 30 fire engines.
The latest drought monitor, which came out Thursday morning Dec. 9, 2021, shows Terry Co. falling back into drought, specifically “moderate” drought or D1. The Terry Co. Commissioners Court in November 2021 decided to nix the sale and use of fireworks for the Christmas and New Years holiday due to the dry conditions. As of Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, Terry Co. is a part of the 36.9% of the United States that is under moderate drought or D1 conditions, and according to KCBD Meteorologist John Robison, there is no chance of precipitation for the next four to fives days.