Texas Forest Service warns that extreme wildfire danger could occur in areas west of Interstate 35 on Thursday. Elevated to critical wildfire danger could be experienced through Friday evening.
The extreme wildfire danger is predicted to begin Thursday morning.
Dan Byrd, a National Weather Service meteorologist working with TFS, said the combination of strong winds and relative humidity values in the single digits to low teens could create an extremely dangerous situation for the affected areas. Winds are predicted to gust as high as 50 to 60 mph over portions of the Permian Basin and 35 to 45 mph as far east as Interstate 35.
Fire behavior analyst Darrell Schulte said that wildfires that start on Thursday could spread from two to four mph, or about 15 miles every minute. Flame lengths could reach as high as 20 feet.
Since Jan. 22, 2009, the beginning of the winter wildfire season, TFS has responded to 565 wildfires for 104,633 acres. During the same period, local fire departments have reported an additional 4,118 wildfires for 100,061 acres according to an online database managed by TFS.