(KYTX) - Two fires Monday in Tyler and Smith County were put out quickly, before they could destroy homes or hurt anyone. However, they stand as reminders that summer fire season is in full swing, and there are things we can do to prevent these fires.
It was a summertime scare for Patricia Sanders at about 10:45 Monday morning.
"I'm laying in my bed watching a movie and I look outside and there's smoke everywhere down the street so I come outside and I look down the street and I see fire," she says.
At first, she thought the fire was in her backyard, but she and her stepdad, Rudolph Warren, soon saw that the flames were burning the land next door.
"It's an oil well back there. Oil trucks go back there," Warren says.
Arp firefighters put it out quickly, so the fire never jumped this road and got near the oil rig. Even though only one acre was charred, the flames were too close to these woods for comfort.
"It's pretty dry right now," Warren says. "It may not burn fast but it will hook to something real dry and it'll burn."
The dry conditions aren't just a problem in the county. A fire at the Dovetree apartments in Tyler happened at the exact same time Monday morning. Someone dropped a lit cigarette, and it got wedged in a balcony, and caught it on fire.
"That's one of the biggest problems we have, people are driving down the street, people think if they toss the cigarette out, nothing will happen. But all the time it happens when they throw it out the window of a moving vehicle and it catches high vegetation and it's dry and it starts a grass fire," says Tyler Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff Tucker.
Tucker says grilling mistakes also cause lots of fires in the city during the summer.
"Make sure you're at least 10 feet away from any combustible material, buildings, trees, anything that can catch fire. Make sure you have a commercial grill that has a grate on it to keep the embers in," Tucker says.
He hopes people will think about Monday's close calls before taking dangerous chances with fire this summer.
Tucker reminds us that it is illegal to have a burn pile within city limits. He says a lot of people still do though, either because they don't know that rule, or choose not to follow it.
You are allowed to burn in the county if the wind is lower than 23 miles per hour. When you burn, keep clear of any brush or trees, keep your eye on the fire while it's burning, and keep water close by in case something gets out of hand.
There are no burn bans right now but we are still in a drought.