NORMAN — A drive along State Highway 9, east of Norman, contains visible reminders of last summer’s wildfires, which devastated parts of southern and eastern Cleveland County.
Acres of burned trees are evidence of where the fire lines ended.
Wind-whipped and heat-driven fires raced through our county, destroying homes, barns and other outbuildings. One death was attributed to the fires.
Now, firefighters are preparing for a similar summer and are asking property owners to do the same. Trimming trees and bushes away from homes and removing debris from around homes will help reduce the risk of homes going up in flames.
A conference in Oklahoma City this week drew more than 150 firefighters, emergency management officials and others who were involved in wildfires. In 2012, fires burned more than 114,000 acres in Oklahoma.
The recent rains in the state have reduced the immediate wildfire threat, but it’s a double-edged sword. The rains help the underbrush grow, making more fuel for fires later in the summer.