Fire Behaviors Become More Intense As Water Resources Dwindle Down

As the drought continues to dry up the ground the threat for wildfires continue to cause concerns across Texoma.

Fire behaviors are becoming more intense and with the lack of rain water resources are growing scarce.

Bellevue Fire Chief Mark Hanson says if Texoma does not see any rain very soon fires can grow even more intense.

Chief Hanson tells Newschannel 6 that because the ground is so dry, he has seen flames reach 50 feet in the air and traditional methods of fighting fires are not working.

Volunteer fire departments are now facing even bigger issues.

Chief Hanson says, "Now we are seeing things that normally would not burn are readily burning, which makes the fire much more intense, much hotter, and last much longer."

Bellevue Fire Chief says with such intense flames firefighters are forced to hit the flames from a different approach.

Chief Hanson comments, "The way we normally fight them we can not fight them anymore. We have to back off and do what we call an indirect attack."

And by using an indirect back fire method fire crews remove the fuel out from in front of the fire with a man made fire. The combination of using water and flames makes it crucial to have readily access to water, but that resource is growing scarce by the day.

Chief Hanson says most volunteer fire departments have one or two water tenders that carry their water source to a fire. When water runs low volunteer fire departments rely on tank truck companies to bring in extra water.

But if Texoma does not see any rain and the extreme dry conditions continue Chief Hanson says with wind, fires will grow even larger and spread faster.

Chief Hanson tells Newschannel 6 farmers and ranchers are becoming more guarded of their water in stock ponds.  And even though volunteer fire departments only use water from them periodically it is still one less resource.

Texas Forest Service tells Newschannel 6 when its crews are sent out to assist on fires, emergency helicopters rely on stock ponds for water.

But with stock pounds drying out Texas Forest Service is forced to use water from lakes making for a longer turn around distance to battle flames.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6