The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently joined forces to warn motorists that driving into dense smoke could result in fire-related death.
Many Texans have lost their lives during severe wildfire seasons because wildfire overtook them in their vehicles while driving. High winds can whip a wildfire around and cause it to change directions, jump across natural barriers like roadways and waterways, even propel it many yards at a gust.
Even when the wildfire is many miles away, strong winds force smoke low to the ground where it will often obscure traffic signs and make it difficult for drivers to know where they should stop to avoid accidents.
For drivers in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, California and Colorado – states where wildfires are a common danger – it’s important that motorists pay attention to television and radio broadcasts and be aware of the weather conditions along their route. If a wildfire has been reported in the area where you will travel, do not drive into the smoke.
For more information on wildfire prevention, see the Texas Forest Service website.