Wind increase fire threat, destroys trees

Wind increase fire threat, destroys trees

LAWTON, Okla._Strong winds gusted up to miles per 50 mph in parts of Comanche County, increased the fire threat across Southwest Oklahoma and wreaked havoc throughout Lawton.

Quite a few people sent us photos of the damage they saw of property that had either been tossed or broken due to high winds. A tree on the city's northwest side was split in half and a tree near Southwest 3rd Street and 'H' Avenue was partially in the road.

Emergency response crews have not responded to any type of wind damage or wildfires, but they say they are remaining on high alert. They say fires are their biggest concern and everyone needs to remain vigilant.

While Oklahoma is no stranger to windy days, Comanche County Emergency Management's PIO Ashleigh Hensch says there are things people need to remember.

"There's even been fires caused by people throwing out their cigarettes, so the smallest thing can catch fire and we are keeping our eyes and ears out for that," Hensch said.

She says if people aren't cautious, things can go from bad to worse in an instant like they did here last month on Fort Sill thanks to low humidity and high winds.

"The slightest spark will carry a long way. It's what happened on Fort Sill when they blew up ammunition. The wind caught it, it spread, taking out 6,400 acres," Hensch explained.

Fires aren't the only issues. Hensch says that driving can also be a problem.

"For example, I know when I was driving out on the highway I was getting hit by wind. I drive a little sedan, so it kept going all over the place," Hensch explained.

Hensch says while driving in the city, under high wind conditions, visibility can change in an instant.

"Driving, of course in high winds, it's going to catch a lot of debris laying around and it's going to come across your car, and you're not going to expect it," she said.

Hensch says she has two warnings for people when the winds howl.

"Just be careful when you're driving, and to make sure you're being safe when you're burning," she said.

Those who may have had trees fallen, if it is in your yard it will be the owner's responsibility to either have it hauled or removed by the owner.