Dry conditions fueling grass fires

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Recent rains have led all of our Texoma counties to lift burn bans. But firefighters say conditions are still dangerous, even for controlled burns.

Wednesday afternoon, Denison firefighters rushed to this grass farm where a controlled burn quickly spread out of control.

"We found approximately 40 acres of grass on fire. A very large wide spread area," Keith Bates said.

Batallion Chief, Keith Bates, called for assistance from Bells, Savoy and NTRA fire departments. He says in the last week, the Denison Fire Department has had a dozen grass fire calls, which is abnormally high.

"Dry conditions and the wind made it spread very rapidly," Bates said.

Despite it being January drought conditions across the U.S. are severe. So, even though burn bans are lifted right now, fire officials say that doesn't mean it's safe to burn.

"Even though the soil moisture has improved somewhat and they dropped the burn bans, we still have a situation where any little spark can start a fire and then if you have a wind, that fire is going to spread quickly through all that dry grass," Steve LaNore said.

According to News 12 Chief Meteorologist, Steve LaNore, Texoma is in a severe to extreme drought. In fact, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost the entire state of Oklahoma is in extreme to exceptional drought. Steve says it will be a while before we see relief.

"We need several good rains spaced out over a couple of weeks of one to two inches each. I don't see that in the forecast though," Steve said.

"So, if you do burn, use preventative measures. Mow around the area, have a water hose, fire extinguisher close by and if anything happens quickly call 911," Bates said.

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