Fires blaze across southwest Oklahoma - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fires blaze across southwest Oklahoma

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Fires continue to blaze across much of Southwest Oklahoma as crews work around the clock to keep the fires from spreading.

Thursday afternoon, a fire broke out in Apache, but that was just the most recent in a string of fires this week. There have been several in Lawton, including a hay fire Thursday morning off Highway 115 and a grass fire near Valley View.

As of Wednesday, there had 11 fires in Comanche County this week alone, but on Thursday, several other fires broke out.

People often assume fires tend to break out more in the summer when the weather is hot and humid.

"That's actually not true to a certain extent because in the Winter months, December, January and February are actually our three driest months out of the year,” said SkyWarn7 Meteorologist and Valley View Volunteer Fire Fighter Matt DiPirro.

DiPirro said this rapid increase in fires isn't something that just happened this week, but is a result of the type of weather we've had all year long.

"So, what happens is the grass is green up in the spring and summer, and then in the winter time we've had a lot of cold this winter, some big cold blasts, that grass will go dormant to protect itself and turn yellow, brown and dry out,” said DiPirro. “That's what happened here recently. Because of the abundance of rainfall that we had in the spring, the grasses are quite healthy and the fuels are quite abundant and right now these winter months tend to be windier times as well."

DiPirro said this second fire season is not uncommon for places like southwest Oklahoma, but this winter it has been more dangerous than usual.

"This winter we've seen below average precipitation and the drought has actually crept into Comanche County and into a lot of Southwest Oklahoma,” said DiPirro.

So with that increased chance of fire, DiPirro says there are certain steps we should take.

"Refrain from burning, especially during the afternoon hours, the best time to burn is in the morning early when the winds are light or in the evening. Use some common sense, if you see the breeze is going good, maybe try to hold that burn off. Make sure you notify the county dispatchers that you're doing a controlled burn,” said DiPirro.

DiPirro also said you should make sure to have water close-by before starting to burn and if things get out of control, never hesitate to call 911.

"Our mission is to protect lives and property,” DiPirro said. “So, when we get on the scene of a grass fire, first of all, we make sure the humans are safe and livestock is not in the path of these fires. Once we determine that we want to make sure we save as much of that property as possible. That may be grass, may be someone’s fence, we want to make sure we keep the fires away from homes and barns."

With new years coming up, DiPirro says if you plan on shooting off fireworks, you need to make sure you are very careful and keep those fireworks on hard surfaces and out of the grass.

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