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Governor Abbott Announces Ongoing Coordinated Response To Wildfires Across West, Central Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today announced ongoing coordinated response to wildfires burning across West and Central Texas. Multiple wildfires continue to burn across Texas, 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,” said Governor Abbott. “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. Information about those local evacuations is available through the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

The State of Texas has more than 500 personnel as well as dozens of aerial and ground assets activated to support local officials’ 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 notes the potential for large wildfires exists in the Texas Hill Country and Rolling Plain through Friday, in areas that include Childress, Vernon, Abilene, Brownwood, Lampasas, San Angelo, Ozona, and Fredericksburg.

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.

On Wednesday, the Texas A&M Forest Service raised the State Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 5 (PL 5) due to 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.

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