McPherson Fire Chief Jeff Deal addressed the McPherson City Commission about how the weather conditions have made the possibility of dangerous fires go up. Because the area didn’t receive its normal amount of snow/precipitation over the winter, the vegetation is higher than normal.
“What this means for us is that significant fires can occur even if the humidity is not that bad or the weather is not what we would consider ‘High Fire Danger,” Deal said. “Typically during a grass season, if the humidity stays above 25 percent then I’m usually pretty happy. In these conditions, if it drops below 40 percent I start to get a little concerned. We constantly watch the humidity as that’s a huge factor for us, and especially given these conditions.”
Because the grasses and vegetation are taller than normal, this means that the barriers that fire fighters tend to rely on, like roads and highways, can’t help as much as they normally do and the fire can jump across the barriers.
“These are likely to be very fast-moving fires,” Deal said. “We have done our due diligence to be prepared for this season. We’re also in constant communication with all the other fire districts to see what they have going on, so that we can kind of prepare ourselves if we need to respond to help them, and they’re doing the same for us.”