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Ice Storm Debris Could Result In Intense Wildfires

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- State firefighters say tree limbs broken by the December ice storm could lead to intense wildfires in the next few weeks.

Tulsa fire Captain Larry Bowles says the amount of debris from trees is historic and he says the safest way to get rid of it is NOT to burn it. As debris removal continues Bowles says brush should be piled away from buildings, roads and anything that might easily catch fire.

In wooded areas there are broken tree limbs stuck in limbs that aren't broken. If a fire breaks out those limbs can fall on top of firefighters.

And Steve Mattax in the state's forest protection division says the dead limbs will cause fires to be much more intense and burn much longer.

Officials say the fire danger will be high from now until mid-April when forests begin turning green.

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center forecasts warmer-than-normal temperatures in the state during the next three months with below-average rainfall leading to an increased fire risk. 

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