Don't let the damp air fool you, conditions ripe for grass fires - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Don't let the damp air fool you, conditions ripe for grass fires

Lawton_Temperatures may be dropping, and some days may be damp, but fire officials say you shouldn't be fooled.  The conditions for a potential wildfire are more ideal than ever because grass and brush that once was green and tall, now is dry and ready to ignite.  Fire officials warn that those conditions, teamed up with holiday lights and candles, can create a dangerous fire hazard.

Short lived, wet conditions deliver a double whammy for fire departments, because officials say folks are less cautious when handling flames.  They say that wet ground makes it more difficult for firefighters to extinguish blazes.  Holiday decorations, dropping temperatures, and dying brush can create a fiery combination.  "Fire danger is actually not reducing, it's increasing as we speak," said Fire Marshall Mark Mitchell.

Last week, Mitchell's department, along with six other fire departments, battled an unexpected grass fire.  "This time of year we're getting a little bit of rain today and yesterday, which is good," he said.  "But, that rain will dry up and dissipate in a hurry."  Mitchell says that grass fires this time of year are tough to battle.  "It adds an additional complication - compounds their ability to get off road, creating chances for them to get those vehicles stuck or trapped in that fire."

Fire departments are aware that as cool weather rolls in, so do fires.  "About the time we get the first cold snap, or two, our responses will increase exponentially," he said.  Since cool weather introduces holiday festivities, they are on high alert.  "Especially Halloween," he said.  People like to put out several sources of ignition - whether it's decorative lights, candles, pumpkins."

Firefighters advise you not to burn wrapping paper or newspaper in your fireplace since small embers on the fragments of paper can cause sparks to escape the chimney and cause outdoor fires.  They also say that you should never use lighter fluid indoors or burn green wood that can become too hot.  With Halloween just around the corner, fire officials warn parents to never leave candles unattended, or with young children.

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