Tulsa-area grass fires force some evacuations, damage property

Tulsa-area grass fires force some evacuations, damage property

18 February 2014

published by www.tulsaworld.com

USA — Monday’s high winds fanned grass fires in the area, forcing the evacuation of some residents near Ochelata and burning a mobile home, two barns and several vehicles near Coweta.

Firefighters from numerous agencies fought several large grass fires in Washington, Wagoner and Okmulgee counties.

A mobile home on 151st Street about a quarter-mile east of 209th East Avenue, near Coweta, was damaged in a fire, as were two barns and several parked vehicles.

The mobile home had been evacuated, and no one was injured, Wagoner County Emergency Management Director Heath Underwood said.

The Tulsa Area Chapter of the American Red Cross dispatched teams to assist firefighters at the Wagoner County fire by providing water and other drinks, said Brian Jensen, regional disaster program officer. The Red Cross also was assisting a resident whose home was burned in that fire, Jensen said.

Underwood said the fire had been contained by late Monday afternoon.

Some firefighters who responded to the fire had been released, but the rest were still at the scene.

No cause of the blaze had been determined yet.

A command center in Wagoner County was set up at 141st Street and 209th East Avenue with firefighters from Coweta, Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Stone Bluff, Porter, Tullahassee and other departments all at the scene, a Coweta dispatcher said.

Broken Arrow Assistant Fire Chief Phil Reid said about 600 to 700 acres were affected.

He said several residential structures were threatened by the fire, but none had been evacuated.

The fire was near the Golf Club of Oklahoma, where an employee said maintenance workers have been watering down the property in case the fire moved toward it.

Broken Arrow firefighters also had four trucks at a fire near Redbud and Madison streets, with a command center set up on Kenosha Street (71st Street) near Aspen Avenue (145th East Avenue).

The Tulsa Fire Department also sent crews to that fire. Reid said no structures were involved.

Reid said a Broken Arrow brush truck that had failed early in the day was repaired quickly by the Fire Department’s fleet maintenance workers and was sent out to the fires.

“That helped out tremendously,” he said.

Meanwhile, homes near Ochelata were evacuated because of a fire near the Washington-Osage county line, about 35 miles north of Tulsa.

Osage County Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown said some evacuations occurred near the fire in Washington County, but no evacuations had been ordered in Osage County.

Several fires were reported in and around Okmulgee County, and the Henryetta Fire Department was working with three others to battle a grass fire near Schulter that was reported just before 2 p.m.

“We can see (the fire) from town,” Henryetta firefighter Joe Smallwood said. “There were some homes in the vicinity, but they were able to get it under control before it actually threatened any.”

No other structures were in danger from that fire, Smallwood said.

Other area fire crews successfully managed a blaze south of Henryetta, and another grass fire was burning east of the city, he said.

Windy conditions are expected to continue through Thursday, with gusts as high as 35 mph Tuesday, 20 mph Wednesday and 25 mph on Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures are expected to reach 70 on Tuesday, the mid-60s on Wednesday and the mid-50s on Thursday.


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