SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The county saw a lot of fires this past weekend from Park City to Mulvane, even in Wichita.
None of the fires burned large areas or buildings, but the Wichita Fire Department wants people to stay aware of the high fire danger.
Some people think summer months are drier because it’s warm. However, according to firefighters, this time of year is when we see dry conditions.
Wichita firefighter Sean Benjamin said there’s less moisture during the winter time, and north winds bring high, sustained winds.
He added that wind is the driving force that makes the fire danger high.
“Wind-driven fire can move fast, and if we don’t get ahead of it and get it out, it can really end up causing a lot of damage,” said Benjamin.
According to the National Weather Service’s fire range index, Sedgwick County is in the ‘very high’ category today — with the highest potential around noon and 3 p.m.
Firefighters said the best thing people can do when the fire danger is high is to think.
If you flick a lit cigarette out the window, it’s still on fire. The cigarette continues to burn and smolder, and it can catch grass on fire. Leaves also fuel a fire, especially on a windy day.
“Leaves tend to settle next to houses too, and we can have house fires and all kinds of issues can come from a careless discarded cigarette, or people not really raking up their leaves away from their fire pit, said Benjamin. “If you’re gonna enjoy your fire pit, clean up, get the leaves and debris away from it.”
On windy days, the Wichita Fire Department ups its response, sending out more units to control a fire.
Crews want to remind people to report any fire as soon as possible before it gets out of control.