Wildfire scorches acreage, structures

Wildfire scorches acreage, structures

29 April 2011

published by www.timesrecordnews.com

USA — A couple of large grass fires April 15 in Clay County left behind thousands of charred acreage and claimed a few structures.

Clay County Emergency Management Coordinator Kent Neville said the fires, which started on April 15, destroyed one occupied home, three unoccupied structures and four barn and storage facilities.

Houses also were damaged southwest of Petrolia.

He said 18,000 to 20,000 acres burned and fewer than 10 head of livestock were lost.

One large grass fire was started near FM 810 and Meta Road, and the other at Highway 148 and FM 2332 near a small oil field, he said, and the cause of the fires was unclear. Though, he said, they were most likely started after “40-50 mph high winds caused electrical wires to slap together.”

The blazes started about noon that day and Neville said in all, firefighters needed about 12 to 15 hours to contain the fires.

“At one point we were afraid that the fire was going to burn from Petrolia and jump Highway 82,” he said. “But it got bottled up down by the Little Wichita River and (firefighters and rescue responders) were able to get it contained before it could jump.”

He said there were about 30 firefighting vehicles on hand to fight the blazes, including six units from Clay County, plus numerous fire trucks from about eight area volunteer fire departments, including Montague County, Wichita East and an Oklahoma fire department.

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