As Oklahoma Continues To Dry, Be Vigilant About Your Fire
You know, as much as schools made us do Stop, Drop, and Roll drills throughout much of the elementary grades, I thought catching one's self on fire was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be. While not unheard of, it's far rarer than the constant drilling would lead a child to believe.
Does that mean the drilling worked to make us all aware? Or does it mean it was a total waste of our time as kids? I'm not sure.
While Smokey the Bear PSA's have always done what they could to grow informative knowledge about wildfires, it's scenes like this that really make me think maybe they should air that stuff on Fox News.
Looking around Facebook, there were a few big fires in Southwest Oklahoma yesterday. Some poor soul lost a vehicle to fire somewhere up I-44 outside of Lawton, and I snapped the photo above driving West towards Altus yesterday morning.
It's always hard to decide what exactly is going on before you get to put eyes on a situation, but this looked like a prime example of how fast a little spark can grow with enough wind and dry fuel in the area.
Driving down the highway, I actually got to watch it grow from a little white puff of smoke all the way to a thick and practical choking hazard of particulate matter blanketing the road.
By the time I could see behind that little pile of granite, there were a few vehicles driving around. The smell was that of burning grass and agriculture stubble, so I just assumed it was some farmer burning off the remnants of a previously cultivated crop. That would be the best-case scenario.
Of course, when the wind is blowing forty miles per hour, that's not necessarily the opportune time to burn off a field... so I guess it could have been an accident, but you just never know about some of those rural old-timers. Sometimes their stubbornness has a plan and they're gonna stick to it come hell or high winds.
Regardless of how it started or if it was accidental, it was a good reminder of how flammable Oklahoma is. Especially heading into a season that's normally pretty dry. Smokers will want to be cognizant of their butts becoming litter, but they're not the only ones that cause fires in SWOK.
A hot exhaust parked over dry grass can create carnage just as much as a kid with a stolen lighter or matches. The inattentive driver hauling a trailer with their safety chains hanging too low... that's unbelievably common in down here. Honestly, twist those bad boys up before hooking on. We can worry less about campfires, those who love the outdoors usually do a great job of caring for them. Instead, educate the ag kids that look to host a time-honored traditional bonfire hootenanny out in their family's CRP land.
Fire is pretty easy to prevent, it just takes a little consideration and thought. Don't be the guy that burns down Oklahoma.