SAFD warns of windy weather that helped fuel fires this week

Cool fronts moving through the area have been kicking up gusts of wind

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Fire Department had a busy morning Friday with four structure fires across the city.

Making some of those fires worse were the 20 to 25 mph wind gusts happening overnight.

A fire at a South Side pawn shop was believed to have started in a dumpster, before the wind helped it spread to the business and grow rapidly. A few hours later, a “wind-driven fire” at a vacant house south of downtown also damaged two homes next door.

SAFD spokesman Joe Arrington said firefighters have to account for additional exposure when it’s windy.

“Whether it’s another building or a potential grass fire, embers blowing and starting, you know, spot fire somewhere else, it’s a genuine concern,” Arrington said.

Cool fronts have been moving through the area, which has caused winds to pick up.

A large fire on Wednesday in south Bexar County closed down Highway 281. The wind was gusting that day between 25 and 30 mph, and the drier air also made for an increased fire risk.

Nearly half of Bexar County was under an “exceptional drought” Friday.

Arrington said homeowners near less-developed, wooded and grassy areas need to be especially sure they have a “defensible space” around their houses.

“Make sure that any dry brush or grasses are cut back and kept away from your home. Make it so that we can defend your structure if a grass fire does spread into your neighborhood,” Arrington said.

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About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.