Experts Predicting Significant Wildfire Season In Oklahoma
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - Wildfire experts are predicting a significant fire season for Oklahoma.
Experts say the potential for a large fire outbreak only happens once every ten years, but all across the state, firefighters are ready with brush trucks if a wildfire breaks out.
Grass fires are flaring up in Tulsa County as the perfect fuel for fires - gusting winds and dormant grass - can be found all over the state.
Tuesday, fires burned along I-35 corridor from Edmond to Guthrie. Officials said the wildfires threatened homes and caused car crashes.
Authorities think the fire started from a blown tire throwing sparks onto the dry grass along the interstate.
Large grass fires also forced people out of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and destroyed homes and businesses. Seven people also lost their lives due to the fires.
"Wildfire season is here,” said Skiatook fire chief Robert Nail. “The grasses have become dormant after the frost and the freezing. The moisture is being squeezed out of them by the continued freezing, the winds are starting to whip up; danger is starting to increase on a regular basis."
Nail hopes homeowners see the potential for the threat of more fires and keep brush and dry grass away from their homes.
For example, wildfire officials want to make sure you get any loose foliage away from your home so it doesn't become a target for wildfires.
Nail said general outdoor housekeeping and moving firewood away from your home is a good idea.
Experts also remind that all it takes is a gust of wind to turn a controlled burn into a wildfire.
"The more wind that we face, the more danger that we face," Nail said.
According to the Oklahoma Forestry Service, there are no burn bans in effect, but, if you live in an area where you can do a controlled burn, experts want you to keep your local fire department in the loop.