Although cooler air is on its way, the heat continued today, with temperatures ten to fifteen degrees above average. Strong south winds only raise the fire danger, and with the hot temperatures and upcoming frost in a few weeks, Texoma faces a two pronged wildfire threat.
Wichita Falls Fire Department Fire Marshall David Collins says that the weather conditions in Wichita Falls are always going to play a major role in not only the direction of any wildfires, but how the fire department approaches any suppression operations with the fire. He also says that with the above average temperatures, the fire department will remain on the lookout for fire activity.
"We're certainly going to remain prepared with those should they become an issue, and it does seem like the summer has hung around a little longer than a lot of people including myself are comfortable with," Collins said.
The first frost of the season also presents challenges for fire officials to deal with. Typically, Wichita Falls sees the first freeze of the season in mid-November. Whether or not that timing holds true remains to be seen. But with frost vastly decreasing local vegetation's moisture content, and Texoma's tendency for strong winds, combined these factors create an environment susceptible to wildfires.
Collins encourages the public to be fire safe as we go into the winter months. If you have a fire place in your home, make sure to get it inspected by a professional.