Volunteer Firefighters Back From Battling Wildfires, Already Busy At Home

Monday, April 16th 2018, 10:17 pm

Some Green Country volunteer firefighters just getting back from helping out in western Oklahoma are already fighting fires here at home.

On top of the expanded burn ban, 52 counties are under a state of emergency Monday, including Osage County.

Volunteer fire departments are already thin on resources, and with no relief expected Tuesday, they’re bracing for more action.

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“It’s so dry out there, and the winds are so heavy, that a little bit of spark flying off into some new dry grass and you’ve got another big fire,” explained Green Country Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Mark Hogan.

As flames fueled by wind raged out west, crews from Green Country Volunteer Fire Department spent 29 hours roving, working on hot spots.

“There’s just so much to do on a grass fire, wildland fire that’s of that size that the local resources become capped,” said Hogan.  “Those of us that can, you know, free up some resources and go out to do the best that we can.”

Hogan estimates the trip cost his department around $9,000, including half a month’s worth of fuel resources.

“We have two first-class gas rigs.  To take one of those out of service and send it out of town to help somebody else is a big deal,” stated Hogan.  “We did it because people need help.”

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They got home safe Sunday night, but that help was needed on Monday outside Sand Springs.

“Trash got away from them, blew into the leaves, leaves caught a couple of acres on fire,” said Hogan.

Hogan admits that he’s tired, but volunteer firefighters here and out west aren’t expecting a break any time soon.

“It’s so important that you have a safe zone around your house,” said Hogan.  “There’s a lot of people that really don’t look into…that’s why we end up working harder than we needed to.”

Crews spent about 500 miles on the road in total.  More could be headed that way, with officials already predicting Tuesday to be a historic fire day, with low humidity and high winds.