Every year at this time the Altus Fire Department responds to a high number of grass fire calls.
Altus Fire Chief Kyle Davis said high winds cause power lines to snap forming an arc, which triggers a fire. As a precaution, Davis urges residents to keep their grass cut low and keep it watered, and to not allow their tree limbs to pile up.
Jackson County Safety Director/Emergency Manager Wayne Cain said that due to the dry season, there will be more red flag warnings, “Please be extremely careful when outdoor burning,” said Caine. “Know your correct address and location, in the case you must call 911.” He also suggests that if grilling, do it on cement or gravel, never close to houses or limbs. “Gas grills are the safest,” he added.
Aside from grass fires, Davis warns of other household acts that could cause a fire. “Careless acts that can cause a fire include overloading extension cords,” he said. “Extension cords serve a purpose, and is a temporary wiring source. Power cord strips should be unplugged from the wall outlet at the end of each use. When shopping for an extension cord, or other electrical gadgets purchase products with the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) tag. Many older houses have not been electrically updated and can attribute to structural fire. All needed upgrades should be performed, by a licensed electrician.”
Davis also noted that working smoke detectors should be in every home and business, and checked at least once a year. By law every renter should have a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher in the rental property. If you have concerns or questions on the proper functioning of your fire detector, the Fire Department will inspect it for you at no cost.
Check out the Oklahoma Department of Forestry website for additional outdoor fire safety information, the Altus Fire Department at 580-481-2232, or the Jackson County Courthouse at 580-482-0229.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077