Osage Nation on standby for grass fires

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Reported by: Morgan Downing
Updated: 1/16 5:29 pm Published: 1/16 4:28 pm

Strong winds have firefighters on standby.

FOX23's Morgan Downing found out Osage County has some helping hands for the next two weeks because of the high risk.

Osage Nation brought in four fire specialists from Montana. They'll be here for two weeks to help out, because if a fire sparks in these weather conditions, they said it will burn fast.
Earlier this week FOX23 told you about a fire in Osage County that burned nearly 1,000 acres near Hominy. Firefighters were fighting the fire for two days.
With strong winds today and forecasted through the weekend, firefighters across the county and Osage Nation Fire Prevention specialists are on standby.

"Just kind of scattered throughout the county waiting … if something happens then we'll all respond," said Bob McCray, a fire specialist brought in by the Osage Nation.

McCray said they're dealing with the perfect conditions for a fire disaster in the area.
"You've got a lot of tall grass this year," McCray.

Tall, dry grass combined with high winds means a fire will burn quickly. McCray said they are working with all of the fire departments in Osage County.

But he said the public can be a big help this weekend as well.

"People got to be real careful with their burning right now," said McCray.

Firefighters said if residents take a few proactive steps, they can make a huge difference in the number of fires officials have to fight this weekend.

Burning is strongly discouraged because with wind gusts up to 20 miles per hour an open flame can cause a fire like one near Hominy earlier this week in a matter of seconds.

McCray also warned that you can find yourself in legal trouble if you cause a fire.

"You could become liable for that fire. If a person was to get hurt, you burn other people's property, you could become liable," he said.

McCray said if you have tall grass, wood, fuel or anything near your home, you should clean that up as well.

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