Fire officials preparing for busy season - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Fire officials preparing for busy season

AMARILLO,TX (KFDA) - So many fires this early in the season are causing concern for area fire officials.

thousands of acres have burned in the panhandle already, leading firefighters to believe the season ahead is going to be one of the worst they've seen.

Burn bans have been issued in Potter, Randall and Moore counties and surrounding counties are in the process of doing the same.

"We're already seeing unseasonably warm weather and with that warm weather is going to bring the winds and that's going to make the air a lot dryer," says Fire Capt. Larry Davis. "You know last year, we had such a great summer when we had all that rain, a lot of lush vegetation was around town. Well now all that stuff has died and it's a big pile of fuel waiting to burn up for us."

Now they are preparing, in hopes of being fully capable of handling (even multiple) fires should they spark.

Controlled burns are happening and firefighters are brushing up on old skills. The Forest Service has  just renewed their contract with the company that helps with aerial fighting.

"That's still money that's being exchanged and used for something that we're not using on a regular basis and so it's cheaper for the taxpayers in the state of Texas itself really just to contract those vendors to come in to supply it when we need it and where we happen to need it," says Troy Duchenoux with the Forest Service.

While fire crews prepare, they are still reminding the public to practice safety around flames.

"People just have to be extremely careful. Cigarettes, things like that, even having automobiles off road, things like that can start fires, so there's a burn ban and hopefully people won't be starting campfires," says Davis.

"Limit your outdoor burning. If there's burn bans in place really pay attention to those. They're there for safety. Don't violate those burn bans. It puts yourself and your neighbors at risk," says Duchenoux.

Officials also want to remind the public that lighting a fire during a burn ban can lead to some heavy fines by the Fire Marshal or Sheriff's Office.

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