DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – As the weather warms up, fire crews are already busy fighting wildfires. Just days ago, fire crews in and around Dodge City fought multiple fires, and now, crews are putting out a warning. Reduce fuel and reduce ignition are key to keeping small sparks from turning into raging wildfires.
“The two best things are control heat sources and ignition sources and control the fuel itself. As far as vegetation, keep it low to the ground and cut off and away from structures,” said Ken Spencer, Dodge City Fire Chief. “We’ve had fires where a chain just being dragged along the highway, the sparks from that can start the ditch on fire and it will take off from there.”
Chief Spencer says as days grow warmer, the fire threat goes up, and across the region, the ongoing drought remains a concern. “It doesn’t matter if we got rain yesterday, the vegetation is dormant, dead, and it’s ready to burn,” said Spencer.
He says it’s important to remember the basics such as, don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground, keep sparks away from dry grass, and limit burning. He says it’s also a good idea to create a safety zone around your home free of dead limbs and brush and to keep the grass cut short.
“The taller the vegetation, the hotter it will burn and the faster it will move. The lower it is, it’s more manageable if a fire does start,” he said.
He says to keep a shovel, water, and fire extinguishers nearby and if there is a fire, call for help immediately. “Call 9-1-1 right away. We do not mind getting there and the fire is already put out and everybody’s safe,” said Spencer.
The recent fires the crews fought did happen on warm and windy days, however, Spencer says even on cooler days, the fire threat is still there.