‘It looks like a very bad scenario,’ says an expert

Severely dry conditions, 50+ mph wind gusts, and highly receptive fuel in the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle and southern Kansas are “setting the stage for exceptionally volatile fire conditions,” according to Hurricane Prediction Center (SPC).

“It looks like a really bad scenario. The grass we have here in West Texas is about as dry as they can get, which is one of the big factors. And then of course, you get wind. And there’s a lot of dry and hot air that’s going to come,” Gary Squira told CNN with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Lubbock, Texas.

Areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will be under extreme fire risk — the highest potential risk — as the low pressure system moves forward.

The danger did not stop here.

“Extremely dry conditions will persist through at least Friday,” the NWS office in Amarillo said, adding that higher wind speeds could contribute to a serious fire risk despite cooler temperatures later in the week.

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The latest stretch of fire risk comes in the wake of several high, critical and extreme fire season outlooks issued by the SPC for the region so far this year.

Several places have already been devastated by the fire, including areas near Abilene and Fort Worth, Texas, which have burned thousands of acres.

“A force of nature”

“The fuel environment in the Panhandles is too unstable for the fire to spread, which could lead to a major fire on Tuesday,” NWS Amarillo warned.

Once a fire starts it is very difficult to control it.

“A SPWO [Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak] The phenomenon is a force of nature, and like a hurricane or tornado, it cannot be prevented,” the Texas A&M Forest Service explained.

Wildfires can grow on a large scale in a short period of time and are difficult to control, causing widespread damage to the landscape.

The Forest Service said fires in the region accounted for 49% of all acres burned nationwide since 2005, even though they make up only 3% of all reported wildfires.

It highlights the responsibility of people living in fire-prone areas to be aware of the risks and avoid activities that could lead to wildfire outbreaks.

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“We certainly want to do our part and prevent wildfires by taking the utmost care with any outside sparks of fire,” said the NWS in Amarillo.

In the event of an emergency, “there are many means of getting messages from both the weather service and local media and officials,” advises NWS Amarillo meteorologist Trenton Hofditz, giving those in vulnerable areas a “go bag” to keep. encouraged. With requirements like documents and medicines.

Drought and La Nia are key players

The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) wrote, “Dry conditions under this low pressure system will exacerbate the ongoing extreme drought over the southwest and south/central plains.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, at 26,000 square miles, Texas has an “extraordinary drought” area—the most severe drought category—more than any other state.

The area of ​​exceptional drought is three times the size of Massachusetts.

“When you get a drought like this, it’s very difficult to break that cycle, make significant changes to weather patterns,” Hofditz told CNN.

In addition to prolonged drought conditions, we are currently under a La Nia advisory, which adds even more fuel to the fire risk.

“Historically, SPWO events have occurred more frequently during La Nia years. This is because La Nia conditions are warmer than usual, and drier than usual, the conditions for Texas during the winter and spring months.” . High-impact wildfire seasons and increased likelihood of SPWO events,” according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

This brought about conditions similar to those seen in the year 2011, where we experienced extreme drought along with La Nia conditions.

“We’ve never really had a rain or thunderstorm season,” Squira said in reference to the 2011 season, adding that the risk of a fire season would continue all summer.

With La Nia conditions continuing well into August and continuing drought conditions across the southern plains, the region may be subject to a similar continuous pattern of fire risk until more rainfall comes into play.


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