OK Firefighters Prepare As Wildfire Season Heats Up
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - It is wildfire season in Oklahoma and across the country. Just this week we've seen dangerous fires in our state and deadly fires in Tennessee.
To make sure area departments are ready, a number of firefighters are attending a wildland fire academy.
Seeing firefighters in backyards putting out house fires is expected, but when it comes to a wildland fire, the conditions are different and so are the tactics of firefighters.
Chief Michael Hall with the Berryhill Fire Department said, “It's drastically different when the fuel is different."
Recently, in Tennessee, a wildland fire killed at least 10 people and nearly trapped a man as he tried to escape, driving through a terrifying scene.
It is situations like that firefighters want to avoid.
"We can replace equipment, we can replace homes, we can replace property, we just can't replace people," Hall said.
To be better prepared, firefighters from around the area attended the second wildland fire academy hosted in Skiatook.
Hall said, "Up here, there is a lot of open range, and that grass is going to run hot. In Berryhill, there's a lot of trees, a lot of oak trees, and that fire is going to stay kind of low and move through slower than normal."
Making sure everyone is on the same page is critical.
Scott Smith with Country Corner Fire Department said, "A consistency in dialect, a consistency in understanding our equipment, understanding the conditions, can be very beneficial."
While they learn to operable with other departments, knowing this year’s vegetation is drying fast, they need your help making your home a defensible space by clearing away any fire fuel from around your property.
"That vegetation is going to become much more involved come January, February," Hall said, “We generally look for about 30 to 50 feet away from the home."
And, remember, as Smith says, “If the wind is up and the humidity is down, don't burn. It's that simple."
Many fire departments are funded through sales tax, so shopping local can help the firefighters keep you safe.