Sunday, just outside of Electra a family lost their home to a fire. That fire started in the backyard after a homeowner was cutting pipe. The man cutting the pipe believed the grass in the yard was too green to be a fire risk.
The home was a total loss. A vehicle was also lost in that fire, and it got us thinking that despite green grass it is still fuel for a fire.
Wichita Falls Fire Chief John Reese has seen it all in his 31 years as a fire fighter. From wild fires to structures going up in flames. That includes fires that started in healthy grass.
"It can rain 2 hours ago, and then it drys out and your fuel moistures dry out, and then you can actually burn green and dry grass at the same time. It's crazy, but it can happen," said Chief Reese.
So what is it that makes the grass, despite rain and the appearance that it is healthy, such a quick starter and a fast burner?
"A lot of people seem to get a false sense of security, but what they need to realize is there is also dead fuels mixed in with the green fuels," said Chief Reese. "When the moisture and even the green fuels drop it will still burn."
The latest Drought Monitor came out for the state of Texas Monday. Wichita County is still in the red. The eastern half of the county sits in the Extreme Category. The western half is in the highest rating of Exceptional. Wichita County remains under a Burn Ban, as does most of Texoma. We wanted to know what is the best way to avoid a fire like Sunday's near Electra. We asked Chief Reese.
"Pay attention to Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches. That will tell you when conditions are higher for these type fires," said Chief Reese. "Keep somebody watching watch your back. Keep a water hose or water buckets handy. That's the biggest thing that you can do."
The thing to remember here is to not be fooled by that green grass. The thatch that is under remains dry, and it is fuel for fire.