Firefighters outline tips on keeping your home safe from wildfir

Firefighters outline tips on keeping your home safe from wildfire

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CHOCTAW -

There's still a garden hose sitting in Jackie Corcoran's front yard.

"Before I got to my door, I could see the smoke," recalled Corcoran.

Neighbors helped Corcoran, a disabled Vietnam veteran protect his home when embers from a wildfire across the street flew into his yard and scorched his lawn Sunday.

"Living by myself, that's not good when you're in a wheelchair," said Corcoran.

Corcoran is always careful about maintaining his yard during the winter wildfire season.

"If I had had tall grass, you know, if it hadn't been mowed, then it would have went a lot faster, because that wind was blowing yesterday," said Corcoran.

Corcoran's grass was cut short, but there was one spot he missed before Red Flag Warnings were issued.

"That stuff over there definitely needs to be picked up," he said, pointing to a pile of yard debris.

Fire officials say piles of leaves and dry brush create a fuel source that cause wildfires to spread to your home.

"It's the embers that actually cause the fires if they find a ready fuel source somewhere around the home," said Maj. Michael James, with Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Safety educators say it's important for all homeowners to clear their yard of debris.  Make sure grass is cut short, maintain a 30-foot perimeter around the house, and encourage neighbors to do the same.

"If your neighbor hasn't taken any steps and his house catches fire, your house is in just as much danger," said Maj. James.

Corcoran says he was lucky on Sunday. He plans to have friends help him haul away yard debris, and do what he can to help firefighters do their job when wildfires spark

"We really rely on the firemen, we really do," he said.

If you have any questions on how to protect your home during winter wildfire season, call Oklahoma City Fire Department at 297-3318.

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