TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Tuesday encouraging Texans to stay vigilant and informed on weather conditions as fire danger and severe weather threaten the state.
The release said significant portions of the western half of Texas are facing extreme fire weather conditions Tuesday and Wednesday because of high wind gusts, dry fuels and low humidity.
Primary areas of concern Tuesday for fires are the Panhandle, South Plains and West Texas, with the risk shifting to much of the southern half of the state Wednesday.
Severe storms, with the potential for large hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, and flash flooding, are forecast for North, Central and East Texas Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
"With both extreme fire danger and severe storms expected in Texas today and tomorrow, it is important that Texans monitor local weather reports, heed guidance from local officials, and take proper measures to protect life and property," Abbott said in the release. "The State of Texas has been working closely with local officials to respond to dangerous conditions created by wildfires and is prepared respond to any emergencies that may arise with severe weather."
At the direction of the governor, the Texas Division of Emergency Management is continuing to activate resources and the State Operations Center remains at Level II: Escalated Response. There are currently 19 state agencies involved in the state's wildfire response.
Earlier Tuesday morning, the agencies held a call to coordinate response to efforts.
The Texas A&M Forest Service, the lead firefighting agency in the state, reports more than 900 local and state firefighters mobilized in current firefighting efforts, including more than 300 TAMFS firefighters engaged in the response and approximately 400 out-of-state firefighters.
More than 200 firefighters from 70 different local fire departments are mobilized across the state through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, as well as 65 fire engines and 35 aviation assets.
Abbott recently issued a disaster declaration for 16 counties affected by wildfires, as well as a disaster declaration remains for 16 counties impacted by tornadoes during last week’s severe storms. Both disaster declarations remain in place.
In the release, the Public Utility Commission of Texas reminds citizens to never approach or touch downed power lines, report downed lines or outages to local authorities and local utility officials.