WAR System Helps Boost Firefighting Capabilities In OK - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

WAR System Helps Boost Firefighting Capabilities In OK

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The rural and small municipalities simply don't have the equipment, man-power or budget to retail every resource they need when these fires ignite. The rural and small municipalities simply don't have the equipment, man-power or budget to retail every resource they need when these fires ignite.
CHOCTAW, Oklahoma -

Small fire departments face extra challenges when battling wildfires in Oklahoma. The rural and small municipalities simply don't have the equipment, man-power or budget to retail every resource they need when these fires ignite.

1/12/2014 Related Story: Structures, Land Destroyed In Logan County Grass Fires

"There is no single department that can have 100-percent of resources they would need for 100-percent of the time," explained Oklahoma County Emergency Manager David Barnes, who works closely with fire departments.

Barnes has worked with area fire departments to come up with a system to boost firefighting capabilities without draining all of a town's resources. They implement the Wild land Automatic Response (WAR) days about three years ago.

"High winds, low humidity, and the high fuel loading because of the season of the year, when these days occur, we know we have an extreme danger we can declare it a war day," explained Barnes.

It's up the local fire chiefs to make the call for a Wild land Automatic Response day.

"It gives the individual jurisdiction that has a fire, two more cities coming to them automatically, immediately," said Chief Loren Bumgarner with the Choctaw Fire Department.

This past weekend Choctaw, Harrah and Newalla declared a war day when a wildfire broke out in the southern part of Choctaw on Sunday, all three fire departments sent firefighters and equipment immediately. That is how WAR days work. Calls are dispatched to partnering municipalities, the chiefs of those fire departments know exactly what equipment and how much of it to send.

"It did come out of the trees and cross the street but we had enough equipment on scene that we could handle that the same time," explained Chief Bumgarner. "It worked very well. We were able to get this fire knocked down."

Oklahoma County Emergency Manager David Barnes said the cooperation is critical to maintaining normal operations while battling wildfires.

"We are able to pull some resources from each of those departments as opposed to any of those departments completely emptying their fire station."

Chief Bumgarner said that they were able to knock the fire down quickly because of the extra trucks. He was also able to keep a few firefighters back at the station for other calls. Those firefighters responded to an EMS call while the rest were battling the wildfire.

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