Exhausted Washington County Firefighters Continue To Fight Fires
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Oklahoma - A big wildfire in Washington County is out, but not before burning nearly 1,000 acres.
Homes were threatened and the sea of charred grass shows just how much was burned in Ochelata.
Neighbors living around the area said they're lucky they didn't lose their homes.
Lou Virden said she watched closely as flames from the grassfire burned near her home.
"The flames were big. Usually, when they have fires up there, we drive around and they're only so high, but they were pretty tall," Virden said.
Emergency workers from four different volunteer fire departments rushed to the area to tackle the flames. At one point, an air tanker flew over the fire dropping water to fight back the flames.
"This has really stretched our local fire departments thin - all over the state really," said Emergency Management Coordinator Melissa Lindgren.
Lindgren said there have been at least a dozen fires in Washington County just this week, and volunteer firefighters are running low on supplies.
"Most of these departments are volunteers. They aren't getting paid for this and their budgets are stretched really thin right now, but they're out here," she said.
Though supplies are low, Lindgren said firefighters will continue to fight the fires as needed.
"They're exhausted, and some of them are not getting paid to work their regular jobs. They're just out here because they love to do this and they want to help their community," Lindgren said.
Fortunately for the homeowners, the fire didn't cause any damage.
"They've done this a million times, so I'm pretty confident in them, but I need a little wisdom, make sure I've taken care of my end and let them do their part," Virden said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
If you'd like to help with donations, you can drop off cash, water bottles and small Gatorades at the following locations:
- Emergency Operations Center in Bartlesville
- Ramona Fire Department
- Vera Fire Department
- Ochelata Fire Department
- Oglesby Fire Department
- Washington County Fire Department
- Avant Fire Department
- Barnsdall Rural Fire Department
- Nelogoney Fire Department
- Dewey Fire Department
- Copan Fire Department
- Bartlesville Fire Department