, Muskogee, OK

January 15, 2014

Use caution in midst of fire season

— While there is no burn ban in effect, this time of the year historically is a bad time for brush fires in the area.

Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean it is safe to burn — or fire up the grill.

And while it seems like we’re still thawing out from the recent cold snap and icy weather, the grass is very dry, as are the leaves that cover the ground.

It’s windier this time of the year, which makes a fire danger even more prevalent.

“This is our normal wildfire season,” said Jeff Smith, Muskogee County Emergency Management director.

And even though there is no burn ban, we should still be careful.

As we all know, Oklahoma weather is unpredictable. We’re just as likely to have a week of rain as we are another week of extremely dry conditions.

Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans and can be prevented, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services.

So be careful out there. Use caution when grilling. If you’re raking leaves, don’t smoke. If you’re doing auto or home repairs, take heed of sparks. And if you plan a controlled burn, consult with the fire department first.