Fire officials say wind, dry conditions lead to grass fires

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – If you’ve stepped outside lately, the Kansas wind has been unavoidable.

And, it has led to a wave of grass fires in the area over the last few days.

“Right now with the weather changing to wintertime and the temperatures dropping now, the grass is becoming dormant and dry,” said Lt. Jose Ocadiz, of the Wichita Fire Department. “So, basically we want to make sure that we try to prevent fires as best as possible.”

Sometimes fire crews are able to put out the fires quickly.

“Today, we were fortunate with the fire we had that it burned into a lease road and we were able to get to it quick and stop,” said Joseph Haag, El Dorado fire chief.

Ocadiz says it doesn’t take much to start a fire in these conditions.

“The most important factor, the ignition source, is that- is cigarette butts,” he said. “Just as small as a cigarette butt being thrown into the grass and as much as the wind is blowing right now can cause a small fire, go into a house and become-involve that whole block.”

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, Ocadiz says there are additional things to keep in mind while preparing a family feast.

“For deep fryers just make sure that you’re 10, 15 feet away from the house or any type of wooden structure so that you can have a safe environment for cooking outside,” he said. “And, it’s no different from barbecuing during the summer time.”