In the face of unpredicatable wildfires, firefighters says there are ways to protect homes

WAGONER, Okla. - Firefighters say there are ways homeowners can protect their homes and prevent the spread of fire during wildfire season.

As soil moisture and humidity remain low and winds whip throughout Green Country, the chance for rapidly spreading wildfires remains.

According to the Oklahoma Forestry Services, 12 counties in the Sooner State are under county-issued burn bans due to the lack of moisture in the state. Six of those -- Creek, LeFlore, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Rogers and Wagoner Counties -- are located in Green Country.

Wagoner Fire Chief Kelly Grooms says protecting your home begins with basic yard work.

First, he says, if grass is tall, cut it. He also says people definitely shouldn't drive through it.

"People driving in the field where the grass is kind of high and their catalytic converter or exhaust pipe will set the grass on fire," he said.

Next, collect yard debris that can add fuel to a rapidly moving fire. Yard debris includes things like dead leaves and branches.

"If you remove the leaves and the wood piles and stuff like that away from your house, that takes a lot, lot of times those houses won't catch on fire," Grooms said.

Moving wood piles is especially important, Grooms adds, because they're often located near the side of a structure for easy access.

Grooms advises moving woods piles to gravel.

He says any trucks parked in the grass should be moved to gravel as well. If a wildfire spreads to a vehicle, he says, tires can quickly catch fire before engulfing the car.

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