COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KETK) – Texas A&M Forest Service fire analysts warn of wildfire activity, including the potential for significant wildfires, through Friday in the Western Pineywoods, Southeast and in Central Texas.

While Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida and the national wildland fire preparedness level has decreased to a 2, wildfire activity has steadily increased over the past two weeks in Texas, according to officials.

As the lack of rainfall and high temperatures have dried surface vegetation, Texas A&M Forest Service firefighters have responded to 65 wildfires over the past week, whereas the agency responded to just six wildfires during the first week of the month, based on a statement released Wednesday.

“The 2022 fire season has been significant for the state of Texas, as state and local firefighters have responded to more than 9,800 wildfires. The state received beneficial rainfall mid-to-late-Aug., which helped to significantly slow the operational tempo for wildland firefighters. However, the benefits of that moisture have started to wane, and we are, once again, observing dry conditions across the state that is resulting in increased wildfire activity.”

Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief

Officials are saying very dry conditions following the weekend’s cold front have resulted in accelerated drying of vegetation across large portions of the state this week.

The warning indicates, there is potential for significant wildfires where pine and yaupon fuels are present in the Western Pineywoods, Southeast and Central Texas. Historically, these high-risk fuels have produced high impact or significant wildfires that threaten public safety and property.

Texas A&M Forest Service is dedicated to protecting the citizens and natural resources of Texas from wildfire, and the agency has strategically positioned personnel and equipment across areas of concern for a quick response, according to officials.

Experts say that in Texas nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by human activity, which means that most wildfires could be prevented by taking simple actions.

“It is important that all residents take care to prevent wildfires while conditions are windy and dry. Consider waiting to conduct any outdoor burning or lighting campfires until conditions improve. Even if your county does not have a burn ban in place, we encourage everyone to be cautious with any activity that may cause a spark.”

Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Prevention Program Coordinator

Stay wildfire aware. If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property say experts.

For current conditions and wildfire outlook, read the Texas Fire Potential Outlook.

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