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Gov. Abbott announces coordinated response to West, Central Texas wildfires

Multiple wildfires continue to burn across Texas, including the Mesquite Heat fire in Taylor County, which has caused officials to issue evacuation orders.

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott announced ongoing coordinated response to wildfires burning across West and Central Texas. As of Thursday, multiple wildfires continue to burn across the state, including the Mesquite Heat fire in Taylor County, which has caused local officials to initiate evacuation orders for residents.

"A fast and coordinated response is critical in slowing the spread of wildfires, and I thank the brave first responders who are working tirelessly to protect their local communities in West and Central Texas," Abbott said in a press release from his office. "The State of Texas continues to work closely with local officials to provide necessary resources to protect Texans. As we continue to monitor the weather, Texans are encouraged to heed the guidance of their local officials to keep themselves and their loved ones safe."

As of Thursday afternoon, the Coconut Fire in Wilbarger County is estimated at 25,000 acres and 20 percent contained; and the Mesquite Heat Fire in Taylor County is estimated at 9,613 acres and 5 percent containment.

RELATED: Wildfire spreads to 9,613 acres in Taylor County

Texas has more than 500 personnel, as well as dozens of aerial and ground assets, activated to support local wildfire response efforts, including approximately 250 firefighters from the Texas A&M Forest Service. Approximately 180 personnel and 45 engines are activated through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, as well as more than 190 personnel from out of state.

Additional state agencies involved in the wildfire response include the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Military Department and Texas Emergency Medical Task Force.

The Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services Department said the potential for large wildfires exists in the Hill Country and Rolling Plains through Friday, in areas including Childress, Vernon, Abilene, Brownwood, Lampasas, San Angelo, Ozona and Fredericksburg, the release said.

Triple-digit temperatures, combined with extremely dry vegetation and high winds, will increase the risk of fire activity in significant portions of the state through the weekend.

Wednesday, the Texas A&M Forest Service raised the State Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 5 (PL 5) because of a significant increase in fire activity across the state, potential for large fires that are resistant to control, as well as the increased commitment of state and local resources to fires.

Texans can visit tfsweb.tamu.edu/CurrentSituation and tdem.texas.gov/disasters/2022-spring-wildfires to access the latest fire resources and safety tips.

Thursday afternoon weather update with Meteorologist Symone Thomas

Posted by FOX West Texas on Thursday, May 19, 2022

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