WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Despite nice temperatures it’s been a busy week for Texoma firefighters.
Monday, October 21, two fires were blazing in Clay County. As of Wednesday, October 23, experts say weather conditions are currently very favorable for fires to occur.
“On days like today we have already had our first freeze of the year or heavy frost, whatever it was, but it has made everything go dormant so now we are dealing with the dry vegetation," Donald Hughes, WFFD Assistant Fire Chief, said. “With all the rain we had earlier this year we are dealing with tall grass, lots of fire load so on days like this we just start watching the humidity as it starts to drop during the day.”
"It’s usually not if it is going to happen but where it’s going to happen.”
“And then when you get the winds that are mixed in when you get to 20 or 30 MPH winds, you get wires popping and things like that. It is easy for them to start and it’s easy for them to spread," Hughes said.
Criteria for the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning or Fire Weather Watch consists of a minimum relative humidity of 20% or less and wind speeds of 20 MPH or wind gusts of 35 MPH.
“Definitely one of the ingredients that is being met is the wind," David Boren, National Weather Service in Norman meteorologist, said. "There is still a relatively dry air mass in place but dew point temperatures are coming back today today so even though it can get really warm the relative humidity’s are typically not below 20%.”
As Texoma has seen over the last few days, fires can still happen without the relative humidity levels being at 20%.
The National Weather Service and WFFD are encouraging all of Texoma to be cautious when doing anything outside that could possibly start a fire.