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Worsening drought leads to more house fires than usual

As North Texas drought gets worse, police are pulling out fire extinguishers more often than handcuf
As North Texas drought gets worse, police are pulling out fire extinguishers more often than handcuf 02:14

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Many North Texans could soon find themselves ill-prepared as the danger of grass fires spreads. 

It was apparent Thursday in South Oak Cliff where apartment tenants fought off a large grass fire that approached their complex. 

A group of Midlothian Police officers saw smoke coming from a business in the downtown square on Sunday morning and they were able to put out a small fire before firefighters could get there and possibly prevent major damage to downtown. 

"There was people in the businesses nearby. So I knew we needed to get it under control and help until fire could get there," said Midlothian Police Officer Ryan Mills.

The grass fires are eating up thousands of acres across rural parts of Texas. But they are also a threat to cities. Dallas-Fort Worth has had a record 362 grass fires in July alone. 

In Midlothian, officers are responding to at least one a day and are recently pulling out their fire extinguishers more often than their handcuffs. 

"With how dry it's been, we'd get average about one to two fire calls a day," Midlothian Police Officer Austin Craig said. "So we had one yesterday and we just had one just before this interview." 

A large grass fire Thursday afternoon in Oak Cliff burned 20 acres and came within feet of an apartment complex where Chris Taylor and his friend used buckets of water to fight off flames. 

"If it gets any closer we have to pack some stuff up and make away tonight," Taylor said.

An apartment maintenance worker was able to help with a water hose but not before the embers made to the complex and started a fire that damaged two units. 

No one was injured but it was unnerving for those who came close to losing everything. 

"As long as I've been here, I've never seen anything like this before," Dallas resident Thaddeus Stallworth said.

These examples are good reminders for those of you who live near wooded or undeveloped areas to keep buckets and water hoses readily available and you may want to invest in a fire extinguisher if you don't have one. 

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