NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The fire danger across North Texas continues to be high and weather condition will keep it that way all week.
Together dry air; dry ground, dormant vegetation, low humidity and gusty winds are the perfect storm for grass fires.
Recently, North Texans have seen fast moving grass fires sweep over hundreds of acres of land in Parker, Johnson, Denton and Collin Counties.
A fire burned more than 2,000 acres in Parker County last week – meaning flames swallowed up about eight acres every minute. Fire Chief Stephen Watson said, “There’s only been two other times that I’ve seen that kind of fire behavior under those conditions.” Now fire crews are preparing for what could happen with the elevated risk again this week.
Tarrant County Fire Marshal Randy Renois says the best practice on days with a high fire danger is not to burn anything outdoors.
There are also preventative steps you can take to properly dispose of cigarettes and fireplace ash. Renois says you should also remember to keep gutters and leaves around your house tidy. “It’s just kinda common sense to protect your property with short grass,” he said. “If you have stacks of wood, for firewood, make sure it’s not close to something combustible at your house [that could] start a fire and watch your neighbors.”
Fort Worth is one of several fire departments across the state that participates in the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System. The group was formed to strategically mobilize systems and make good use of state and local resources, i.e. for circumstances just like these.
While your first inclination might be to jump in and help if you see a fire the Tarrant County Fire Marshal said the first thing you should do is pick up a phone. “If that fire is moving pretty fast their best bet is to call 911 and get some help,” Renois said. “On a Red Flag Day it’s pretty important to get that 911 call, because on those days our fire stations have their Mutual Aid with other partners, at a heighten alert, and we can send two or three brush trucks at one time instead of just one.”
Most counties across North Texans have issued some type of burn ban and everyone is urged to use extreme caution because of drought conditions and the high fire danger risk. Anyone violating a court order prohibiting outdoor burning can be fined up to $500.