Firefighters prepare for wildfire season

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX-A fire burned more than 600 acres in Pilot Point Wednesday afternoon, destroying structures and forcing evacuations along Hames and Tischler road. The fire took about five hours to contain and after Wednesday's heavy use of manpower and resources, firefighters said even though wildfire season hasn't officially started, they're already prepared.
Just last year, Grayson county firefighters responded to more than a hundred grass fires. They said with temperatures already reaching near 90 this early in the season and a lack of rain, we could be in for a lot more potentially dangerous fires like Wednesday's.
Nineteen fire departments from Denton and Grayson counties rushed to the scene of Wednesday's massive grass fire in Pilot Point. Eight families and a nearby animal shelter had to be evacuated.

"We got the animals all out of the play yards into the buildings where they have some level of protection. Then, we started trying to move equipment, more people, get my staff out, my morning staff out, we're just trying to make everybody safe as we could," said "All American Dogs" owner, Bob Matthews.

Six hundred thirty acres went up in flames, when a tractor malfunction sparked dry grass. Tioga assistant fire chief, Ken Smith, said those flames gave them an idea of what to expect this wildfire season.

"When it starts getting into grassfire season, we start prepping up personnel. Watch some videos do some training and make sure our brush trucks are up and running, make sure the lines are ready to go, make sure everyone is up to procedure in how to run stuff," he said.

Denison assistant fire chief, Bill Ray, said his crews responded to more than 100 grassfires in Grayson county last year and said they're ready to face another wildfire season like that.

"We have systems in place that the entire county has, where we can depend on mutual aid. We'll have those assets ready to go in event that it is a super fire," he said.

Ray said anything that can cause a cigarettes...can start a big fire.

"Let's start now in being very careful with fire, let's start now in being careful in what we throw out the windows, be mindful now that this season is approaching us and maybe we can avert those bigger fires," he said.

Big fires that can do serious damage.

"I just want to thank them. They're the reason we didn't lose the small house, the main house an after that the kennels were next. They were awesome, they stopped the fire," said Matthews.

Ray adds that residents can protect their homes from potential grassfires by keeping their lawn mowed.
He also said that even if the grass is green, it can still ignite.

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  • by R.U. Location: Kidding on May 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM
    Stop the wildfires at the point of ignition. What could be just a small fire burning along the roadside can spark a major blaze when the grass is three feet high and dry because the county or whoever wont pay to have it mowed but once a year. And as to the "be careful what you throw out the window" comment in this story I agree but there are many other things that can spark a fire along a roadside....dragging trailer chains, a flat running on the rim, cars and bikes without spark arrestors, broken glass. The list goes on.
  • by Kristin Location: Sherman on May 24, 2012 at 01:29 PM
    Ive been complaining to TXDOT for weeks about the high grass. Annoyed that it wasnt managed weeks ago.
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