WICHITA FALLS, TX - (KAUZ) Areas throughout Texoma are facing fire danger conditions as cities hit the peak of winter fire season. In February, a windy winter day with low humidity can be a recipe for a fire disaster.
“Like right now, we are at the height of our winter fire season and that’s because a lot of time the grass after the first couple of freezes will die off,” said Chief Jon Reese, Fire Chief for Wichita County.
The recent major rain storms have caused even more growth to grass and weeds along the highways and especially in rural areas.
"So we grew an enormous amount of fuel and then all of it dries out its prime for burning,” said Reese.
He said be careful, especially if the it's a red flag day, meaning the relative humidity is less than 15 percent, and winds are more than 20 miles per hour, according to Chief Reese.
“Both in the city and out in the county, the biggest thing that you can watch for is if we're in a red flag day,” said Reese. “That means a small fire can spread out of control in just a matter of minutes.”
He said if you're grilling out or welding, make sure to have a five gallon bucket of water nearby, and be especially careful with cigarettes.
“We've seen some of the most devastating wildfires due to discarded cigarettes,” said Reese.
As the area braces for winter fires, local fire fighting agencies are preparing. The Wichita Falls Fire Department, along with numerous other Texoma fire crews, spent five days training. The training wrapped up on Saturday.
“We pull all that weather into play and that kind of gives us a good idea and as we progress through the day and conditions change. That's when we will adjust our training, our tactics, or whatever,” said Chief Reese.