OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City is in the midst of some unprecedented times when it comes to grass fires.
Fire officials are saying our grass fire numbers are far higher than they’ve been in the past and this is just in the month of July alone, which isn’t even over yet.
Leaving out trash fires or burn complaints, in the month of July, the Oklahoma City Fire Department has worked nearly 300 grass fires.
“That’s a lot of grass fires, even by our standards,” said Batt. Chief Benny Fulkerson, with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.
Of those, eight of them came on Thursday.
One of them forced 12 fire units to stop a three-acre fire, caused by fireworks, that threatened structures and burned up a car.
Fulkerson said 144 of them were on the Fourth of July and were obviously caused by fireworks as well.
He said it isn’t unusual to have a busy July, but it has been worse this year.
“Going back to 2017, it was pretty common to see maybe 130, 80, 120 somewhere in that range. It was kind of the average numbers of grass fires for the month of July,” Fulkerson said. “So, we are very much elevated this year.”
Cigarettes being tossed out windows, chains dragging behind cars, fireworks, and even train wheels on tracks are just some of the reasons they start.
“What we tell people is anything that can cause a spark, don’t do it right now,” Fulkerson said. “Look around. The grass is now brown, we’ve had a lot of heat. It’s been dry.”
With multiple homes, vehicles and lives at stake, Fulkerson said folks have to help bring these numbers down.
“Put people on a heightened alert. Let’s be very aware of this. Let’s work together. Let’s not do anything outdoors that could cause even the smallest spark,” Fulkerson said. “Let’s remember that and just prevent those from happening and keep everybody safe and their property.”
Fulkerson said some ways to help are being mindful of your outdoor cooking, welding and trash burning because all it takes is one spark and a little wind with dry conditions for things to go up in flames.