If you were driving around Wichita Falls on Saturday, you probably noticed the massive smoke overcast in the sky. Sadly we had a really bad grass fire that spread pretty quickly.

Shout Out to Our Local Fire Departments

As always, thank you so much to the men and women with all our fire departments that helped contain this grass fire on Saturday. According to KFDX, Clay County Emergency Management, Wichita Falls Fire Department, Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department, Wichita East Volunteer Fire Department, and Burkbunett Fire Department were all on the scene. Also thanks to law enforcement including Wichita County Sheriff's Office and the Wichita Falls Police Department for helping clear out nearby homes and businesses.

What Happened on Saturday?

We have no word on what started the grass fire, but due to the dry weather in Wichita Falls. This thing was able to spread quickly. Around 400 acres was burned on Saturday and sadly someone's home and several vehicles on their property were destroyed by the blaze. The fire started around East Hatton Road. Texas A&M Forest was called in to help contain the blaze. Using planes, they dumped gallons of water on the fire to help stop it.

Footage of Planes Dumping Water in Wichita Falls

Always remember to be cautious with how dry it is in Wichita Falls right now. A little fire in your yard can develop fast into something massive. Below are some friendly tips you should be doing during dry conditions like right now in Wichita Falls

Preventing Grass Fires

  • Don't throw cigarette or cigar butts on the ground or out of a vehicle. Dispose of them properly and make sure they are completely extinguished.
  • Do not burn trash, leaves or brush outdoors; there is a permanent burn ban in the City of Austin and during certain times of the year bans are implemented in many outlying areas.
  • Keep a 30-foot "safety zone" surrounding the home clear of brush and cedar, especially for those living in a woodland area. Grass should be cut short in this area as well. For homes that sit on a steep slope, the safety zone should be increased accordingly.
  • Stack firewood at least 15 feet and uphill from the home.
  • Rake leaves, cut off dead limbs and twigs, and mow grass regularly. Cut tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground and remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
  • Don't park cars, trucks, or recreational vehicles on dry grass or shrubs. Exhaust systems on vehicles can reach a temperature of more than 1000 degrees; it only takes about 500 degrees to start a brush fire in the summer.
  • Use an approved spark arrester on all internal combustion engine-powered equipment. This special muffler helps ensure that sparks generated by off-road vehicles, chainsaws and other equipment don’t start wildfires. Check and replace spark arresters periodically.
  • Maintain equipment in good working order.
  • Parents should emphasize to their children the dangers of playing with fire. Many grass fires are started by children who have no idea how quickly flames can grow and spread.
  • Homeowners who barbeque should maintain a 10-foot area free of brush and shrubbery around grills and propane tanks. Non-flammable screens should be placed over the grill (with mesh no coarser than 1/4 inch thick). Never leave a grill unattended. After use, place grill ashes in a metal bucket and soak in water.
  • Keep a shovel, bucket of water, fire extinguisher, or other fire suppression tools on hand.

Info taken from Ausin.gov.

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