Howard County Burn Ban

by Jacqueline Sit
NewsWest 9

This is the reason why volunteer firefighters say they're having such a tough time battling these flames.  These very tall dry weeds and dry vegetation.

"The tall weeds, broom weeds are usually 8 to 10 inches tall.  They're up to 24 to 36 tall, like throwing gas on a fire," Tommy Sullivan, Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, said.

The weeds have sprouted twice the size because of a wet summer this year, but now that it's dried out.  It's a constant battle the Howard County Volunteer Firefighters are up against everyday.

"The way it's looking right now, it's when is it going to be," Josh Sullivan, Howard County Volunteer Firefighter, said.

Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tommy Sullivan says the fire load is the highest in the last 25 years, and that's because 90 percent started from human error from trucks to electrical short.

"There's enough out there to keep us busy without the human element kicking into it, that's why we enacted the burn ban," Tommy Sullivan said.

A burn ban county commissioners approved for the next 90 days to help alleviate these stressful situations.

"Sometimes it could get stressful there are days you work 10 hours at work then move on all night long to fight a fire, and then you still have to get up and go to work the next morning, with little or no sleep at all, it catches up to you," Josh Sullivan said.

Last Friday, volunteer firefighters say they took 5 hours fighting a fast moving flame the size of 8 football fields, and that's why they need all the help they can get from the public.

"When these fires start around these ridges, it's hard to defend without people making fire guards and protecting their own property where we can actually fight the fire," Tommy Sullivan said.

Helping them by protecting yourself could save your home and every second counts.

"California is a good example, if you don't clear away the debris.  You're going to lose everything," Sullivan said.