The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has established a Texas wildfire prevention taskforce aimed at maximizing prevention strategy as wildfire season approaches.
“With a state as vast in size and as diverse in environment as Texas, we must be strategic in our wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said in an agency news release. “Many brave Texans risked their lives fighting fires last year, yet the historic 2011 wildfire season claimed nearly 4 million acres in Texas and was truly devastating to the people, property and natural resources of our state. I commend our local, state and federal firefighting agencies, and am today proud to create this task force to bring more strategic focus and action to wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts before the fire sparks. As Texas prepares for another potentially active wildfire season, it is important to ensure first responders, local and state officials, and landowners are aligned in both fire prevention and response efforts.”
Last year, the Texas Forest Service and local fire departments responded to more than 30,000 individual fires burning nearly 4 million acres in Texas. The taskforce will complement new web applications created by the Texas Forest Service and the Texas A&M University System that will help homeowners and communities determine wildfire risk.
“Controlled fire is the best tool to prevent wildfires,” Staples said. “Trying to control a wildfire is much more costly and difficult than eliminating the fuel for that wildfire before it starts. The updates in our prescribed burning procedures and the new Texas Wildfire Prevention Taskforce will help reduce the risk of potential wildfires, which risk the lives of our citizens and damage communities, crops, livestock and wildlife.”