MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF
This has been a historic year for the Texas emergency management community. Our state has battled a record-setting wildfire season and continues to experience unparalleled exceptional drought conditions.
Since Nov. 15, 2010 our state has fought more than 28,700 wildfires that have burned nearly 4 million acres and destroyed more than 2,800 homes. The damage was such that we received two presidential disaster declarations in 2011.
Over the summer months, Texans endured 60-plus days of above 100 degree weather, which set all-time record highs across the state. The onset of La Niña weather conditions only added to the intense drought conditions which are expected to continue.
Though some of the state received some much needed rainfall at the beginning of the fall, it was not enough to reverse the extensive drought conditions. At various times throughout the year, almost all of the 254 counties in Texas were under a burn ban and various municipalities instituted water conservation measures.
With an estimated significant population increase over the next several years, state and local leaders are examining what steps to take to further conserve our state’s water supply and ensure we have adequate resources and policies in place to better preserve our natural resources for future generations.
While these events have forever changed the landscape of our state and how we prepare and respond, I am aware of how well communities continue to pull together to become ever more resourceful and resilient during these challenging times.
As we enter the winter months, I encourage the emergency management community, local officials and citizens to remain firewise. Though the temperatures might be getting colder, in the face of our state’s exceptional ongoing drought conditions, the threat of fire still remains.
I encourage your family, staff and community to have emergency supply kits assembled and ensure personal emergency plans are up to date. Though we do not know what emergencies lie ahead of us, I do know that the more Texans are prepared the better able we are to respond and recover.
Chief W. Nim Kidd, CEM®
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