Oklahoma Forestry Services warn of increasing wildfire risk - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Oklahoma Forestry Services warn of increasing wildfire risk

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The strong winds, and near record high temperatures mixed with dry conditions are creating the risk of high fire danger.

Oklahoma Forestry Services has issued a Fuel and Fire Advisory for the whole state and is urging all residents to use extreme caution as wildfire conditions continue to worsen.

Over the past week, OFS has worked with volunteer fire departments to battle several wildfires and they say the danger will increase through Tuesday of next week. Fire stations all across our area will be on high alert.

Comanche County Emergency Management and fire crews have put out about 20 wildfires in the last week and say that number could increase with these current dry conditions

Fire Chief for the Hulen Fire Department Chris Carter said firefighters already have a tough job, but battling wildfires during a period of high fire danger makes their job twice as difficult.

"The wind speed, wind direction can change at any moment, it can possibly lead to them being trapped and not being able to get out of a particular area with fire coming behind them," said Carter.

With the high fire danger Comanche County Emergency Management Public Information Officer Ashleigh Hensch said most people don't understand the dangers fires bring until they experience one for themselves.

"You might think that a controlled burn is apart of your everyday life or maybe taking machinery out to mow your yard that's just kind of common place everyday, but when we are in high fire danger it can cause a fire to start very quickly and very easily and it will spread," said Hensch.

Once these fires spread Carter said chasing them is the biggest issue they face.

"A fire will double it's size in the matter of a minute. Every minute that we are fighting fire trying to get to the head of that fire that fire is rapidly growing and getting bigger and bigger," said Carter.

While people often think fires break out more in the summertime because it's hot, Hensch said they can break out just as easily in December, January, and February.

"Even though its winter we think its winter how can we start a fire, the problem is that the vegetation is really dry and so its easy for fire to catch when its dry and with the wind  you know how you blow in the fire and it starts to burn back up a bit more the wind helps to feed it and to push it," said Hensch.

Firefighters said there are ways you can prevent wildfires from spreading.

"Of course we ask that you don't do anything with any fire, barbecuing, if you can abstain from welding or anything like that we ask that you do that as well. Don't burn any brush piles,any controlled burns and don't burn any trash," said Carter.

If you see a wildfire, don't try to put it out on your own, call 911. Families are also advised to have a plan just in case a wildfire accident happens.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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