Oklahoma Fire Departments Joining Forces For High Fire Risk - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Oklahoma Fire Departments Joining Forces For High Fire Risk

Posted: Updated:
Choctaw Fire Department helmet. Choctaw Fire Department helmet.
Chief Loren Bumgarner. Chief Loren Bumgarner.
Carolyn Smythe. Carolyn Smythe.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

With strong winds and low humidity, a fire watch is in effect for much of the state. Some Oklahoma departments are joining forces to protect lives and property.

With little chance of rain in the forecast anytime soon, we could be dealing with the risk of fires every day for the rest of the month.

When the wind blows like it's blowing has been, Carolyn Smythe with the Freedom Hill fire department in Creek County gets nervous.


"My blood pressure is elevated, I'm very anxious about the day," Smythe said.

She's anxious because she knows how quickly a fire can spread, like the one a year and a half ago that destroyed hundreds of homes in Creek County.

Aid came from about 200 Oklahoma fire departments.

"When other agencies even from outside the county came in to fill that need, it was a tremendous relief. Fresh firemen, we needed them badly," said Smythe.

Most fire departments work with mutual aid agreements with other departments. Typically crews respond to a fire in their jurisdiction, and then call in help from other nearby departments if needed.

Crews in Oklahoma County have turned to what's called automatic aid. When the threat is really bad, they implement what are called wild land automatic response, or WAR, days.

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

On WAR days, fire calls are automatically dispatched to their partners, and those departments immediately send manpower and equipment. It's a way for fire departments to boost firefighting capabilities without draining all of a town's resources.

David Barnes, with the Oklahoma County Emergency Management said, "We are able to pull some resources from each of those departments, as opposed to any of those departments completely emptying their fire stations."

For Smythe, it's an interesting strategy

"If you can knock it out in an hour, versus five hours or eight hours or have the fear or anxiety of losing structures, homes, people's personal belongings, I think that's wonderful," said Smythe.

Oklahoma County has been using the WAR days for about three years.

They're only called for when conditions are just right, with the combination of high winds, low humidity, high fuel and extreme danger

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.


Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.