Officials warn of high fire risk during dry, cold weather

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- 'Tis the season for cold weather - which means time for space heaters and glowing fire places. But Texoma is under a severe drought, which has firefighters on high alert.

And most north Texas counties are under a burn ban.

"It's usually not this dry. It's off and on, but usually you don't see the burn ban on this time of year," said Denison Fire Department Battalion Chief Bruce Geilhausen

And when the dry conditions mix with the cold weather, the fire department warns it could be a dangerous combination.

"In cold weather, there is an increase. Between the space heaters, and use of furnaces, fireplaces and heaters, there is an increase in fires this time of year," he said.

The State Fire marshal warns about space heaters:
-never dry clothes over space heaters
-never plug them into extension cords
- never leave them on when you're not in the room

Geilhausen said fire places can also be hazardous.

"Always keep a cover in front, so the sparks don't get out and get in the carpet. Make sure it's cleaned yearly and inspected," he said. "Same with your furnace. Make sure it's in good operating order."

Outdoor cooking can also spark grassfires, which can lead to house fires under our current windy conditions, Geilhausen said.

"You want to make sure water is available. Everything is really dry, and with this wind, it just takes a little spark and it'll get your house, the neighbors, and it can get away from you in a hurry," he said.

The state fire marshal warns about Christmas decorations. They say check your tree daily for water and make sure to keep it away from flames.

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