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You may have noticed the high number of fires that have occurred in the Brazos Valley lately. Grass fires have happened nearly every weekend the past couple of months and house fires have been devastating, but how bad is the problem?
Area firefighters have been busy lately. Bryan's Fire Department responded to 123 calls and tackled 11 building fires this month and College Station's Fire Department received 116 calls, but they say that's not uncommon during the winter season, especially since people start heating their homes.
"It seems fairly normal for this time of year. We do have several heating fires that do occur," said Marc McFeron, a Bryan Fire Inspector.
"A lot of people are starting to use their fireplaces for the first time of the year. Maybe they haven't cleaned them over the year and you get some problems related to that," said Lt. Mark Jones with the Bryan Fire Department.
But city firefighters aren't the only ones who have been feeling the heat. Firefighters in several counties have been busy putting out grass fires all year long and recently those fires have been spreading quickly.
"We expect to have grass fires once we have a freeze and the dry ground. What's unusual right now is the fact that we have such a high wind," said Joe Ondrasek, Fire Chief for Precinct 4.
Those high winds can often cause the fire to spread and wipe out dozens of acres in a matter of minutes. Almost all of the grass fires in the Brazos Valley have been a result of outdoor burning of trash or debris, something firefighters say people shouldn't even do under these types of dry weather conditions.
"It would be my recommendation just to prohibit all outdoor burning right now. It is so dangerous," said Chief Ondrasek.