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Texas A&M Forest Service talks turkey,
Thanksgiving Wildfire Prevention
By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Let’s talk turkey. Which is faster: a turkey or a wildfire?
In Texas, the average rate of the spread of a wildfire is six mph and has been documented on several of the most damaging wildfires in the state, according to a release from the Texas A&M Forest Service.
“While this might not seem very fast, this rate can outpace suppression efforts of firefighting equipment, and should not be taken lightly,” said Wildland Urban Interface Specialist I James DeGrazia. “This also enhances the need for homeowners and communities to prepare evacuation plans now.”
Wild turkeys are just one of many species that benefit from prescribed fire, DeGrazia added. Research has shown hens prefer to nest in areas that have been burned within the past two years, as unburned areas are too thick in vegetation.
“Freshly burned areas provide excellent foraging for many wildlife species, including turkeys, as new forbs and grasses sprout up following the fire,” DeGrazia said.
The Texas A&M Forest Service encourages campers and hunters to keep these campfire safety tips in mind:
- Check if there are burn bans in the area.
- Make a small fire in a safe and clear area.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- When preparing to leave, soak the fire with water. Stir the coals, soak again and check for heat.
- Repeat until out cold.
- Always make sure the campfire is out cold turkey before leaving.
Fried turkeys are a food staple of the holidays, but DeGrazia said to remember to “gobble up safety.” For those using a turkey fryer, follow these safety tips:
- Fry turkeys outside on a flat surface, and away from the home, decks, fences and vegetation that could catch fire.
- Never overfill the oil or put a frozen turkey in the fryer.
- Turn the gas off before placing the turkey in the fryer.
- Never leave your fryer unattended.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
- Always keep an eye on your bird.
For more help on evacuation planning, visit www.ready.gov/wildfires.