Fire officials watch the wind, prepare for increased fire risk

Red flag warning in effect as winds stoke greater chances of fire

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist,
Published On: Feb 27 2013 05:12:37 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 27 2013 06:08:16 PM CST

Fire officials warily eyed wind gauges across Bexar County Wednesday as stiff gusts prompted the weather service to issue a red flag warning, signifying increased chances of fires.

“Wind is without a doubt one of the major factors in fire behavior,” said Captain Jarrett Vocke, of the San Antonio Fire Department.

Monday’s wind illustrated that.

Brush fires popped up across the city, and several homes were destroyed in the county.

Three people, including two children, were killed on Old Pearsall Road after their home caught fire. The fire started in a nearby house, but winds spread deadly embers all over the block.

Wednesday’s warning brought extra preparations for county officials, with text messages going out to emergency personnel across the county alerting them to weather conditions.

“That’s especially important for volunteer firefighters out in the county, because they’ll be on higher alert and can hopefully make fire scenes faster,” said Kyle Coleman, of the Bexar County Office of Emergency Management.

The fire risk was expected to be greatest between 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., as officials said they were expecting temperatures and wind speeds to rise, as relative humidity dropped.