Homes Threatened By Fire Near Ochelata

Wednesday, March 14th 2018, 5:57 pm
By: Justin Shrair

A fire in Washington County threatened some homes Wednesday afternoon.

According to Washington County Emergency Management, five departments are fighting the fire near 2900 Road just west of Ochelata.

The Oklahoma Forestry Services dispatched two Type One Air Tankers to assist.

The fire is only about 15 to 20% contained.

Emergency management said no official evacuations have been made but some residents did self-evacuate.

The flames did get close to livestock and some homes, but firefighters were able to prevent any damage.

Peggy Whiteman is still nervous after an afternoon filled with flames inching dangerously close to her Ochelata home.  She says this is the first time she's ever experienced a wildfire this close.

"I think they're taking pretty good care of us," said Whiteman.  "I just lost my husband less than 2 weeks ago, so it's a little bit scary being all alone."

Washington County Fire Chief Kary Cox says there's been at least 3 fires within the county Wednesday.  This fire near Ochelata has been particularly difficult for fire crews.

Cox says "it's in some very rough terrain, very remote areas and access to it is almost impossible."

Cox says at one point they were spread out pretty thin.  He says this fire is an all hands on deck call.  And the majority of crews fighting the fire are volunteers.

"We've had more than a dozen homes that were threatened by this at one point or another," said Cox.  "At one point we were worried about the town of Ochelata."

But Cox says there is good news for homeowners.  With about 8 crews fighting the fire on the ground, with help from several aircraft, they are hoping to keep this fire secure overnight.

As many residents look on, they say they are thankful to have these departments on scene and working hard.

Fire crews say they will stay all night to patrol the area.