COLLEGE STATION – Tired of surfing the net for drought-and wildfire-related public agency information? If so, then bookmark the Agricultural Drought Task Force website at: http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ to find agency information currently available on those and other related topics.
The website is a no-frills information center that’s activated during times of prolonged and widespread drought in Texas, according to Dr. Travis Miller, Texas AgriLife Extension Service drought information spokesman at College Station. It serves at the discretion of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
“This is the worst drought on record in many parts of the state,” Miller said. “And to add to the misery, well over 3.3 million acres of the state have burned so far this year. With statistics like that, it’s all the more important to have accurate information that’s readily accessible.”
The Drought Joint Information Center, which hosts the website, is a group of state and federal agency public information officers, led by Texas AgriLife Communications and activated by the division of emergency management in 2009 and again in 2011. Originally only for drought information, wildfire was added because the two calamities go hand-in-hand and share many commonalities, said Dr. Andy Vestal, AgriLife Extension’s emergency management coordinator headquartered at College Station.
The website is a central clearinghouse of drought/wildfire-related public information and education meant to help each of the participating agencies perform their designated public service roles, Vestal said.
All the information on the website is public and should be useful to producers, industry groups, county officials, the media, AgriLife Extension agents and others needing creditable, consistent Texas drought-related information.
The website is divided into two distinct areas.
The Resources on Drought section provides static and changing information on drought ranging from stream-flow data and weather information to links provided by the participating agencies.
The News Updates/Situational Reports section features the latest items provided by the participating agencies which are vetted and posted by AgriLife Communications.