Texas A&M Forest Service continually analyzes current and predicted weather conditions throughout the year. The assessment and predictive services staff develop seasonal forecasts that assist state and local government entities in preparing for upcoming fire seasons.
Texas A&M Forest Service also maintains a network of automated weather stations across the state. Data from these stations, and other sources, are used to produce a number of daily products, such as daily fire danger forecasts, drought index and current fuel moisture for the entire state.
Wildfire occurrence and cause are tracked by an online Fire Department Fire Reporting System. This is a voluntary system available to all fire departments across the state. This information is shared with Texas A&M Forest Service prevention staff, local cooperators, elected officials and the public. Wildfire occurrence information is also used to guide the Texas A&M Forest Service fire planning and preparedness, and response efforts.
Conditions of wildland fuels are observed and used to calculate and predict fire behavior. Each region of the state contains a dominant fuel type—grasses, brush and trees—that Texas A&M Forest Service must consider when assessing risk. Factors such as the level of drought; percentage of rainfall; how quickly the grasses, brush and trees dry out; and how readily they will ignite and burn are all calculated and considered.
In addition, predictive service staff works with National Weather Service forecasters to determine areas of extreme fire danger by assessing forecasted temperatures, relative humidity and wind speeds.
By considering all these elements, Texas A&M Forest Service is able to predict fire behavior for certain areas and conditions. These assessments are used in pre-positioning personnel to areas of extreme fire risk.
Texas A&M Forest Service predictive service officials utilize updated Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment statistics in preparation for the next fire siege. This information allows Texas A&M Forest Service to provide qualitative, scientific data to show Legislators and the general public how the wildland fire landscape is changing across the state.