OSU Professor Says Best Way To Limit Fires Is With Fire - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

OSU Professor Says Best Way To Limit Fires Is With Fire

Posted: Updated:
Bidwell said he doesn't think it's possible to prevent fires, but can limit the damage they do, by using prescribed burns. Bidwell said he doesn't think it's possible to prevent fires, but can limit the damage they do, by using prescribed burns.
Bidwell said the prescribed burn method can be tough to comprehend, especially when out of control wildfires can put lives in danger. Bidwell said the prescribed burn method can be tough to comprehend, especially when out of control wildfires can put lives in danger.
A defensible zone around your house, with downed limbs or brush removed and the grass cut short can help, but it must be done ahead of time. A defensible zone around your house, with downed limbs or brush removed and the grass cut short can help, but it must be done ahead of time.
STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

An expert at Oklahoma State University said many of the devastating wildfires we're seeing in Oklahoma are preventable.

It's a strategy of using fire to fight fire.

OSU professor Terry Bidwell is a rangeland specialist, with more than 30 years of expertise on preventing wildfires, by using fire.

"You don't prevent fires, I think you mitigate the damage fires can do," Bidwell said.

Bidwell said that's done by using prescribed burning, under controlled and safe conditions. The key is being proactive, rather than reactive.

"Areas that have a history of prescribed fire, like areas around a town or a ranch, if you do have a wildfire on those areas, it's much easier to suppress because you've got reduced fuels from a history of prescribed fire," Bidwell explained.

He said it can be a tough message for some to comprehend, especially when out of control wildfires can destroy homes and threaten lives.

A defensible zone around your house, with downed limbs or brush removed and the grass cut short can help, but it must be done ahead of time.

"That's a little late to crank up that chainsaw when you see the fire coming," said Bidwell.

Bidwell teaches not only at Oklahoma State, but at fire schools nationwide, stressing to various emergency agencies how controlled periodic burning can lessen the chances of catastrophic wildfires later.

"Just like the Mannford fires a couple of years ago, when that thing is up and running, there is no fire, federal resources, no tanker drops, no airplanes, no helicopters, nothing is going to stop that fire until the weather changes, so if you didn't control the fuels, the next option is to run for it, and that's what a lot of people had to do," Bidwell said.

He said without proper management, landowners could be jeopardizing not only their homes, but also the lives of firefighters.

"We've got a big issue across Oklahoma. If people don't control the fuels around their home, if they get a wildfire on their home, the fire department really can't do much about it," said Bidwell.

USDA conservation offices can help landowners develop plans for prescribed burns. Bidwell also said there are a number of professional contract prescribed burners in Oklahoma that can be hired to do the job safely.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!

Share

See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Cold Case

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.