USA — A 74-year-old Coweta man is in the hospital with severe burns he suffered while burning brush.
Calvin Hogan’s family said his injuries are a painful lesson for others to think twice before burning, especially when they’re alone, and during our dry spell.
Coweta firefighters say Hogan was burning brush when suddenly things took a terrible turn, even for someone experienced with outdoor burning.
“He was trying to stomp some of it out, and he caught his pants on fire,” Brody Morris, a Coweta Firefighter, said.
Hogan now has third and fourth degree burns to 20 percent of his body, basically everything from the thighs down. He lost his toes and is now in the burn unit in stable condition.
“I’ve taught fire safety for 20 years and it bothers me to see somebody, even a grown up as well as a child, get any type of burn on them whatsoever,” Morris said.
Coweta firefighter Brody Morris says the combination of no rainfall, gusty winds, and low humidity is a triple threat right now.
“It doesn’t take but just a spark to set this on fire,” he said.
He says with little rain, and no winter weather like sleet or snow, conditions for fire are terrible right now and potentially dangerous.
“I think it’s pretty much dry all over Oklahoma,” Morris said.
The National Weather Service says with those conditions right now, the entire state of Oklahoma has at least some threat of wildfires. Wagoner County doesn’t have a burn ban in place now, but three Oklahoma counties do: Creek, Okfuskee and Garvin Counties.
Morris says even if an official burn ban isn’t in place, it’s still a good idea not to burn.
“We’re strongly discouraging it right now,” he said.
While Calvin Hogan is being treated right now, his family echoes those same concerns many firefighters have, at least until conditions improve.
“Don’t burn at all,” Morris said. “That’s the safest thing.”
Last month was the state’s 32nd driest December since Oklahoma began keeping weather data back in 1895.