Fire departments on high alert as grass fires increase in Texoma

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Holidays are mostly routine days for fire departments but with grass fires recently popping around Texoma, departments are also on high alert for any calls that may come their way.

While many are out celebrating Labor Day weekend with a lack of labor, many others like first responders are still making sure people stay safe.

“Really it’s just like any other day. For some reason most of our holidays we actually get calls,” Wichita West VFD President Christopher Bashford.

“Depends on the weather pattern. For a day like today, stayed fairly calm, not anticipating a whole lot but also depends on what everybody’s evening plans are,” Wichita Falls FD equipment operator Kyle Lange said.

Officials say they usually don’t get lots of calls on holidays but recent grass fires give firefighters a little bit of cause to stay alert for the call.

“Wichita Falls is always ready to go. As far as grass fires, firefighters are all equipped with their firefighting gear every shift that they get on the rigs,” Lange said.

“We get 100 calls a year and half of those will be wildfires, we’re well over 100 already this year and majority of those have been grass fires so it seems like it is getting progressively more and more wildfires out here,” Bashford said.

As the weather transitions into fall, officials say the grass will begin drying out after a wet season. But families should still be ready if flames arise.

“Train, train, train. We also try to have the public help us. Have a plan, be ready, practice your plan. A plan’s no good without practice. Have your family have a meeting spot,” Bashford said.

“Keeping your yard manicured, trees trimmed, hedges trimmed. Maintaining that 100 foot distance around your house is the biggest thing you can do especially out in the county and in the more rural areas,” Lange said.

While firefighters stay ready, only you can prevent grass fires.

Bashford adds the more you can help the firefighters will help you and your neighbors to prevent the spread of a wildfire.

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