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Oklahoma City Fire Department offers safety tips for wildfire season

Oklahoma City residents can help fireproof their homes by doing a few basic things: keep the grass and trees trimmed, keep shrubs and trees away from the residence, and store firewood and other combustible materials away from the house.
by Juliana Keeping Published: April 30, 2012

Kittie Richardson's home sits where Oklahoma City's sprawling urban landscape meets its rural fringe.

The brush and trees on the outskirts of the neighborhood make it a perfect spot for a dangerous wildfire. But you don't have to tell her that.

A wildfire surrounded her home near SE 29 and Choctaw Road in the past, she said.

Firefighters brought in brush pumpers with 3,000-gallon tanks to knock down the blaze.

If the scenario repeats itself this year, she'll be ready for it.

On April 18, Richardson attended a “Targeting Wild Land Fires” presentation hosted by the Oklahoma City Fire Department at Harmony Christian Church in Choctaw.

At community events like this one, the department is reaching out to help residents prepare for wildfire season, Battalion Chief Tim Adams said.

Wildfire season

There are two wildfire seasons in Oklahoma: late winter through early spring and summer, said Gary McManus, a climatologist for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

Except for a portion of the Panhandle and the southwest part of the state, the majority of Oklahoma is no longer in a drought, McManus said.

But the lush green field and trees may give residents a false sense of security.

All that vegetation could make good fuel for dangerous fires later in the summer, he said.

“If it does dry out, there will be a lot of fuel there available for fire,” McManus said.

Experts don't expect the summer will be as hot and dry as 2011, but nothing is certain, McManus said.

There are equal chances the summer will be hotter than normal, cooler than normal, or just average.

“We do know, in general, it's probably going to be hot, because that's what happens in Oklahoma. And it'll probably be dry. That's just the law of averages,” he said.

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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To schedule

a meeting

The Oklahoma City Fire Department will schedule meetings with community groups that want more information about how to prepare for a wildfire, Battalion Chief Tim Adams said. For more information, call 297-3318.

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