High temperatures and winds spark interest in grassfire prevention

According to Amarillo Office of Emergency Management every year 350,000 homes in the US are struck by fire, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths and 25,000 injuries.

With the panhandles' dry land, high temperatures and wind, the chances of grassfires increase.

"Conditions that we get the elevated fire risks include, when the atmosphere is really dry," said Pronews 7 Meteorologist Alyssa Pawlak. "Criteria for this is relative humidities that are at 15 percent or less, and also strong winds can also contribute to that. Generally we're looking at wind speeds of 20 miles an hour or greater."

Even though the February blizzard brought much needed moisture, the drought is still in affect and not all burn bans have been lifted.

"First of all if you're outside and you live outside the city limits, and are doing any burning make sure you're not in a burn ban," said Amarillo Fire Department PIO Captain Jacob Oehlert. "The county determines if you're in a burn ban or they can call their local sheriff's office and find out if they're in a burn ban."

If you are headed outdoors, precautions are needed to prevent grassfires, property damage and harm.

"Set up a defensible space around your home. Clear out an area around your home and don't stack combustible materials against the outside of your home," said Oehlert. "Keep them away from your house and clean out your gutters. Clear leaves, pine needles or anything else that might gather upon your roof."

AFD also adds when a high wind advisory is in effect, to avoid any activity involving fire.

If a grassfire were to happen, the fire department says to evacuate immediately and move as far away from the location as possible.

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