DENTON, Texas -- Many Texans have lost their lives during severe wildfire seasons because a wildfire overtook them in their vehicles.
This fact has prompted officials with the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to warn motorists that they should never drive into dense smoke or they could become a fire fatality.
High winds may cause wildfires to spread rapidly and jump across natural barriers such as roads and even waterways. Strong winds can force smoke to stay low to the ground, obscuring roadways and traffic signs. Texas wildfires have been propelled by wind gusts as high as 60 mph. During severe fire seasons, Texans are asked to pay attention to TV and radio broadcasts BEFORE they travel. They should be aware of fire and weather conditions along their route.
Other tips include avoiding traveling into areas where wildfire activity has been reported and possibly even delaying trips. As motorists travel, they are advised to watch for highway signs providing information on fire danger.
- Watch for traffic control personnel, fire fighters and law enforcement officers.
- Slow down and prepare to stop if signaled to do so.
- Slow down when preparing to stop and turn around.
- Activate emergency flashers to warn other vehicles behind you that you have decreased your speed or stopped.
- Check for oncoming traffic before turning around safely.
For more information on fire danger and advisories, see the Texas Forest Service website at: texasforestservice.tamu.edu
The mission of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety, is to support the citizens of Texas and local jurisdictions as they plan for, respond to, recover from and mitigate the impacts of all hazards, emergencies and disasters. For more information, see: www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.