TULSA - With dry conditions prevailing in the area and high winds predicted for the weekend, this is not the time to burn leaves, local firefighters say.
Many homeowners like to burn their leaves and dead brush this time of year, but Capt. Ben Hatcher with the Turley Fire Department says that could be very dangerous.
"The projected forecast for this weekend is very high winds. Yes, we did get a little bit of rain here recently, but with the high winds the moisture dries out very quickly. The dead leaves, the dead brush, all of this adds up to a very high fire danger," he told KRMG Friday.
He says before burning, people should first check with their local fire department to see if it's even legal.
Many communities ban all open burning.
In Turley, it is legal, but they require a call to the fire department first for permission.
When conditions are too dangerous, they will not grant that permission.
When burning, the most important safety precautions are to have someone monitor the fire constantly, have a good, steady source of water at hand, and be sure the fire's completely out when the project's complete.
He points out that they're an all-volunteer department, which means firefighters get called away from their jobs and their homes to respond to fire calls.
That can be frustrating when they leave the dinner table only to find out it's someone burning leaves -- another good reason to alert them ahead of time.
"Controlled" burns can get out of control very quickly, as a fire just three days ago in Turley illustrated.
People had books old furniture in their fire -- which is illegal.
They left it unattended, and that led to a fire which scorched about an acre and half before Turley FD got it under control.
No one was hurt in the incident.