In 2022, Texas experienced one of the most severe wildfire seasons in over a decade. The Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments responded to over 11,000 wildfires across the state, covering 645,000 acres. The Texas A&M Forest Service alone dealt with over 2,000 of these wildfires, accounting for 85% of the acres burned in the state.
Some of the largest fires in Texas included the Dempsey Fire in Palo Pinto County, which started in June and burned for nearly two weeks. The fire consumed more than 11,000 acres and threatened around 120 homes and 140 buildings. It also crossed the Brazos River in two places as it spread north towards Graford. Four heat-related firefighter injuries were treated at the scene, and no other injuries were reported. The final acreage of the Dempsey Fire was 11,598 acres.
Less than two weeks later, fire resources were deployed to the 1148 Fire near Possum Kingdom Lake in Palo Pinto County. The cause of the fire was determined to be an open trash container that contained glass bottles, food, and paper goods, which were magnified by the sun and sparked a flame that spread to nearby cedar trees. The fire destroyed five homes and five outbuildings and covered 457 acres southeast of Graham.
Nearly three months later, another fire broke out in Palo Pinto County as a result of a prescribed burn that got out of control. Called the Lazy Fire, it was suppressed in October after burning 1,800 acres.
Dry vegetation and drought conditions also contributed to the 6,700-acre Chalk Mountain Fire near Glen Rose in July, which destroyed multiple homes and other properties. Throughout 2022, 402 agency personnel, including 307 firefighters and 95 wildlife management staff, as well as over 4,450 out-of-state firefighters and support personnel, responded to wildfires in Texas. Around 130 aircraft also supported the firefighting effort, dropping over 11 million gallons of retardant.
During this time, firefighters saved over 8,000 homes that were in the path of the wildfires. Many of these homes had taken steps to protect themselves, such as creating defensible space and using fire-resistant construction materials, before the firefighters arrived.