Upcoming Winter Wildfire Season Predicted to be Dangerous in Howard County

Upcoming Winter Wildfire Season Predicted to be Dangerous in Howard County

HOWARD COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The winter wildfire season is coming up and it has fire officials in Howard Country worried. They've started warning people to get prepared.

We've seen quite a lot of rainfall this year and that means a big growth in vegetation. The fire chief says blonde grass is the most dangerous during wildfire season. It's what makes wildfires spread so quickly and Howard County is covered with it.

"This fire is going to move about five times faster than it did in 2011," said Chief Tommy Sullivan with the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department.

Back in 2011, West Texas was in a terrible drought and huge grass fires sparked in Howard County. This upcoming winter wildfire season is predicted to be just a dangerous.

"We didn't have these types of fuels back then," said Sullivan.

He says with the growth of grass and brush, there's more fuel for winter wildfires then there has been in 30 years.

"We're predicting 1,600-1,800 calls. At 1,600, that's more than four times our normal," said Sullivan.

"Our winter fire season, our call volume is higher than in the summer," said Sullivan.

The fire department wants residents to start preparing early. They say property owners should keep their grass and weeds mowed down around their homes to prevent wildfires.

"In the first 15-20 minutes, if they haven't protected themselves, we're not going to be able to help them," said Sullivan.

The fire department has started gearing up and setting plans in place.

"My high risk areas are my Silver Hills area and what we call our urban area," said Sullivan.

"We go through and do scenarios talking about a fire that is moving, wind conditions 40-50 miles an hour, where are our water supplies, what are we going to do, how are we going to protect the houses," said Sullivan.