Very high to extreme wildfire danger this week in North Texas

Record high temperatures, dropping humidity levels, and gusty winds will create a perfect storm for wildfires today (Tuesday) and continuing at least through the remainder of this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag WARNING from 1:00pm Tuesday to 1:00am Wednesday due to the threat for fast-moving wildfires. Areas along and west of the I35 corridor will see the highest conditions for fires. A Red Flag WARNING means that extreme fire weather conditions are expected. Avoid all outside burning or welding.

Rapid drought development or flash drought is ongoing across the area due to persistent above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. A persistent upper level high pressure pattern has suppressed meaningful rainfall and will be responsible for the hottest July on record for many, primarily in Central Texas.

The Texas A&M Forest Service has reporting stations positioned across Texas to report real-time weather conditions and how favorable the environment is for fires. They expect all of these stations to be above the 90th percentile due to underlying dryness and large dead fuel loads (or lots of dead grass).

Concerns for firefighters:

  • Extreme fireline intensity is to be expected during both initial attack and extended attack. Currently, only elevated fire weather is required to produce extreme fire line intensities and high crown fire potential.
  • Typical barriers to fire spread like roadways, rivers, and hardwood river bottoms cannot be relied upon to stop fire progression.
  • Active fire behavior may extend into the overnight hours due to poor overnight moisture recovery.
  • The area of concern includes some of the highest population densities in the state.