Buffalo Area In A Drought

July 12, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM EDT

By WKBW News

July 12, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - The dog days of summer are upon us and there is no sign of relief in the near future.
Thursday morning the U.S. Agriculture Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the Buffalo area officially in a drought.
The extreme hot days, low humidity and lack of rain is perfect for fires.

"Grass fire, brush fires, out of control camping fires can happen very very quickly and they can spread just as fast," said Tiger Schmittendorf, Deputy Fire Coordinator for Erie County Emergency Services.

Thursday afternoon a farmer picking wheat in a field off Williams road in Niagara Falls may have sparked a 10-acre blaze.

"The vegetation dries out you know it's not moist, it doesn't have a lot of water inside itself so when it's given heat it easily ignites and it's extra fuel for the fire," said Bruce Mack, Frontier Volunteer Fire Chief.

But the fires aren't limited to wild brush. Schmittendorf says they can easily start in your own backyard.

"Only about 10 percent of wildfires are started by nature," Schmittendorf says. "The other 90 percent or so are caused by typically things like careless smoking, or discarding smoking materials."

There are a few tips to help prevent fires and keep you and your family safe.

1. Put your barbecue grill on the concrete instead of grass.
2. Never leave any type of fire unattended.
3. Park your vehicles so that the exhaust system is never in contact with grass, shrubs or weeds
4. Keep the area directly around your house well watered and moist.