Possible Arson-Related Fires Frustrate Okmulgee County Fire Crews

Thursday, March 15th 2018, 10:01 pm
By: Justin Shrair

Fires continue to burn in Okmulgee and parts of Creek County.

3/15/2018 Related Story: Exhausted Washington County Firefighters Continue To Fight Fires

As fire crews continue to work on them, officials say some may be arson related. 

About 1,000 acres burned Thursday throughout Okmulgee County. 

Fire officials said low humidity, high winds, and rough terrain made it tough for crews.

Vivian Boyle and her husband live just a few miles down the road from Beggs and saw the smoke rising above the tree line. 

"I saw the helicopter and the plane and I thought oh my goodness it looks like it’s coming this way but then it looks like its shifting," Boyle said.  

That fire was one of at least six fires throughout Okmulgee county Thursday. Officials believe several of them may be arson-related which frustrates many on the front lines. 

"We don't have time to be doing this and it's very strenuous on them and it's sure hard on their budgets and it doesn't look like its gonna end anytime soon," said Okmulgee County Commissioner Ron Ballard.  

Most of those fire crews are volunteers. Many of them left their jobs to fight the fires. 

Fire crews also received support from the air. More than 10 departments responded including the Muskogee Task Force. 

"We’re getting tired. It’s been tough work and tasking cause we’re having to go from one side of the county to the other today with the equipment to keep up with them," said Director of Emergency Management in Okmulgee County Tim Craighton. 

That tough work does not go unnoticed. Residents here said they're proud of their firefighters who work tirelessly protecting lives and saving property. 

"We really depend on them, very thankful for them and they're just local people around here that give their time and energy and money," said Ralph Boyle.  

Fire crews will be out late into the night. 

Crews said that some homes were in danger but so far, there has been no reported property damage.

Officials are asking that if you see someone that doesn't belong on your property to call police.