A Denton County Firestorm Threat? and Another Close Call

Never in all of my three years of living here in north Texas have I ever seen things get this bad. Our threat, not from supercells or tornados or even flash floods but from more wildfires this is the kind of weather I would expect from Colorado or California. Humidity in the teens!! less than half our annual precipitation!! and a serious drougt that leaves no end in site. Yesterday at least 15 homes were destroyed right here in Denton County alone and we have an even greater threat for Thursday as dry air conditions with 15-25 mph winds expecteed. Now I must take action and do something to help our community, I walked around the field surrounding my apartment complex yesturday and what I have seen is an entire match box ready to explode! the slightest thing will ignite all this dead dry grass and if this happens the fire would quickley grow in strength as it eats 100s of dead trees and wood laying all over out here! My idea may sound crazy but when the apartment office opens I'm going to ask the manager to send the landscapers out thier to clear out all the dead vegetation and wood that has us totally surrounded. This sounds crazy guys but trust me if you picked up some of this dry grass, an it through your fingers you would know of just how vulnerable many areas in Denton county and all of Texas really are. We had a close call already they had the sirens blaring but it wasn't for a tornado or a test!!! I saw the haze but not the fire itself Close Call!!

One final thought <will the next great wildfire be caused by someone carelessly throwing thier cigarrete butt out the window? With so much dead vegetation lying around it's a terrifying thought.>
 
I don't think you're crazy at all to ask your community manager call a crew and clear away the dead brush and trees. They should be doing that anyway, I'm surprised they haven't stepped that up even moreso with the conditions.

We do that in the desert constantly. A lot of people wonder why it is necessary in the Sonoran Desert but since cattle ranching began out here (moving the herds moves grass seed), a lot of non-native grasses have intermixed with the less flammable natural vegetation such as giant saguaro, other cacti and native trees. It is a never-ending battle against the obnoxious non-native fire fuels. Even desert-dwellers clear their brush.

The acreage on western wildfires is unbelievable, but brush clearing does save homes, and without it, there is often no chance. Last three fires (desert!) I chased were: Edge Complex: 71,000. Cave Creek Complex: 243,000. Willow: 120,000 acres. These fires were huge. Homes that were lost often had chaparral and trees touching or growing alongside the structures for shade purposes.

Keep bugging your manager.
 
Clearing away brush, leaves and other flammable materials away from homes and buildings is probably the single best thing one could do to defend against wildfire. In firefighting, we call this creating "defensible space". By creating at least a 30 ft protective ring around your homes and buildings, you have just dramatically increased the odds your property will survive a wildfire. This means raking up leaves, bits of grass and cutting the grass down very close to the ground. Dirt doesn't burn, grass does! Now, I am not recommending turning lawns into barren landscapes, but keep the grass trimmed short. For every extra inch in height your grass is, the higher the flames will build and the faster it will burn.

By simply having property that's defensible, that also helps firefighters help you and it may also help them to decide who's home to save in some situations. For example, if I receive a call that a wildfire is approaching homes and upon arrival see a home that provides me a chance to save and a home beside it that's in a virtual "jungle" which offers little hope of surviving, I will probably choose to go to work on the home that I think can be saved. It's just like triage with injured victims. Emergency services have a limited supply of resources. The dead are the lowest priority while victims who can be saved are the highest priority. So make sure your home doesn't look "dead" either! Just food for thought.

BTW, I really hope the SRN Plains can start getting some relief in the way of rain soon. This is really unusual to say the least and I am thinking about you folks daily.
 
A fair sized fire is underway in Denton right now near the intersection of Bonnie Brae and I-35. I thought I smelled something for nearly two hours and finally saw a horizontal column of smoke moving over my street from that direction. I've heard sirens for about fifteen minutes and the Dallas NBC station, channel 5, has a helicopter circling the area.
 
A few fires evident on KTLX and KINX (Tulsa) now... It seems as though there's been a fire in Creek county for the past week, so perhaps embers keep reigniting fires. Regardless, there's another one up Payne county souther of Stillwater:
 
A few more fires have popped up around OK... One can be seen on KVNX near Newkirk in far nc OK. The one south of Stillwater remains, and smoke from the fire in Creek county can still be seen on area radars. In addition, smoke from a fire east of Norman can be seen as 30dbz returns on KTLX. In fact, smoke is visible from my apt here in OUN now.

fireEofOUN.png
 
It always seems that all of the smoke plumes that are visible on radar all show up at the same time. Everytime I've loaded a radar loop during this wildfire problem, you can see at least 2 or 3 fires start at almost the same time. Almost like the first fire is "breaking the cap!"
 
It always seems that all of the smoke plumes that are visible on radar all show up at the same time. Everytime I've loaded a radar loop during this wildfire problem, you can see at least 2 or 3 fires start at almost the same time. Almost like the first fire is "breaking the cap!"

Sometimes you'll see smoke plumes become immediately evident when the radar operator changes the VCP from 32 to 31. A longer pulse length w/ VCP31 results in generally greater sensitivity, so it's usually easier to see weak/distant plumes when the radar is in this VCP. KTLX has switched back and forth this afternoon... The ground clutter and returns from biological and inate scatterers (dust, etc) is worse in VCP31, so I'd imagine they'd keep the radar out of 31 when there are fires suspected near the radar (so the smoke signature doesn't get 'lost' in the clutter, etc).
 
I can see smoke just west of I 35 on my balcony I think it's the fire Amos is talking about. I took some photos of it but it's too far out of range to see any flames there is definitly a large amount of smoke coming off this one!
 
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