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Decision by Governor Abbott to deploy additional resources

Increases Readiness Level Of State Operations Center For Wildfire Response

February 28, 2024 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to deploy additional state emergency response resources to support wildfire response operations as ongoing wildfires impact the Texas Panhandle. The Governor also directed TDEM to increase the readiness level of the Texas State Emergency Operations Center (SOC) to Level II (Escalated Response) in support of the state’s around-the-clock response.

“As dangerous wildfires continue to impact the Texas Panhandle, I directed TDEM to immediately deploy additional wildfire response resources to ensure the safety of Texans and impacted communities,” said Governor Abbott. “Thank you to our federal partners at FEMA for quickly approving Texas’ request for grant assistance as we continue to fight these dangerous wildfires. I encourage Texans in affected areas to heed the guidance of local officials and first responders and to take all necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones safe. We continue to work alongside TDEM, local officials, and emergency response personnel to provide all available resources to protect our fellow Texans.”

In response to a request from the State of Texas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) request for the Smokehouse Creek Fire and Windy Deuce Fire, meaning that Texas will be eligible for 75% reimbursement from the federal government for costs associated with fighting those fires.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, high volume of dry, freeze cured grasses will continue to support fire spread today. As we approach the weekend, the fire environment will trend warmer and drier, resulting in the potential for additional wildfire activity across the Texas Panhandle this weekend. Portions of South Texas continue to face increased wildfire risk, as well as East Texas, amid active burns. Additionally, the Texas A&M Forest Service raised the Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 3 today due to an increase in current and expected wildfire activity over the next several days.


At the Governor’s direction, TDEM has activated additional state emergency response resources to support wildfire response operations:

  • Texas A&M Forest Service: 6 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs); All Hazards Incident Management Team personnel; 6 Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams comprised of over 94 personnel and over 33 fire engines
  • Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (Texas A&M Task Force 1, Texas Task Force 2, and Texas A&M Public Works Response Team): Urban Search and Rescue Teams; Public Works Strike Teams
  • Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET): Animal veterinary services in impacted communities
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Animal supply points to ensure livestock and pets are sheltered, have feed and critical care
  • Texas Department of Public Safety: Aviation assets for aerial mapping
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife: Game Wardens to support local law enforcement
  • Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Emergency Medical Task Force): Ambulance bus to support emergency medical mass care needs; 3 Wildland Fire Support Packages including paramedics and ambulances; 5 Medical Incident Support Team personnel


The deployment of these additional resources bring the total number of state emergency response resources to:

  • Texas A&M Forest Service: Over 95 firefighters, heavy equipment such as bulldozers and motor graders; All Hazard Incident Management Team personnel; 11 Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System strike teams comprised of over 189 personnel and over 58 fire engines
  • Texas Division of Emergency Management: Emergency response personnel to support requests for assistance from local officials; personnel on-site to support local impacted communities
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Disaster Assessment and Recovery Agents as well as AgriLife Extension Agents to support agricultural and livestock needs
  • Texas National Guard: CH47 Chinook helicopter with firefighting capability
  • Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Emergency Medical Task Force): Wildland Fire Support Packages including paramedics and ambulances
  • Texas Department of Transportation: Personnel and equipment to assist with road closures and fuel for firefighting support
  • Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Emergency Medical Task Force): 6 Wildland Fire Support Packages including paramedics and ambulances
  • Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas Highway Patrol Troopers to assist with road closures and traffic control
  • Texas Animal Health Commission: Personnel to provide livestock support
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: Air/water/wastewater monitoring


Governor Abbott also urged Texans impacted by wildfire to report property damage by submitting an online damage assessment survey. Texans can report damage to homes, businesses, and agricultural property using the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT). The iSTAT survey can be filled out in English and Spanish online at and click on “Ongoing Wildfire Incidents.”

Information provided in the self-reported damage assessment surveys help emergency management officials identify any immediate resource needs and understand the extent of damages that have occurred. Survey information also aids officials in determining the state’s eligibility for various forms of federal disaster assistance. Reporting damage through the iSTAT tool is a voluntary activity and is not a substitute for reporting damage to your insurance agency. It does not guarantee disaster assistance.

Texans are encouraged to follow directions from officials, limit activities that may cause sparks or flames, and keep emergency supplies easily accessible. Texans can visit for wildfire tips, for safety information, and to report wildfire damages.

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