Rogers County Firefighters To Help With Woodward Fire

Tuesday, May 6th 2014, 11:07 pm
By: News On 6

Half of Oklahoma is under a burn ban, and new fires were stretching fire crews even thinner, as firefighters are battling flames from Pawnee County to the panhandle.

The latest is out in Woodward, where the highways have been closed and dozens have been evacuated from their homes.

Around 5:00 Tuesday evening, firefighters from Rogers County met up, and headed out. They got a call from the state office of emergency management that their skills could be used to fight the fires.

5/6/2014 Related Story: Large Wildfire Prompts Evacuations In Woodward County

"We got emergency tooling if we need it. We got tools in here, look in here, extra hose, rope, stuff like that," said Tiawah Fire Chief, Bob Anderson.

Anderson said his task force is ready to take on the challenge

"We have 400 gallons of water on this thing, so, we've got, what we call a booster line for small stuff, and if we need an attack line, we got an inch and a half there, for the brush," said Anderson.

These trucks can douse these burning fires 30 feet ahead of the men fighting them. One of those firefighters, Clifford Lee, said goodbye to his family Tuesday.

"They've got full time jobs, and they're having to go away, get their time off from work. They've been at work all day, and now they're headed out to Woodward, Oklahoma to assist them," said Scotty Sikes with Rogers County Emergency Management.

He and dozens of others, most of them volunteers, will be tasked with getting the Woodward County Grass fires under control.

"Got a grass mask, to help filter out the debris, so I don't get overtaken by smoke," Lee said. "It get pretty rough around here, but out there, there's nothing to block, you know, no hills or trees and such, so, it's probably gonna get really, really intense."

Rogers County alone is sending 15 firefighters along with a number of brush trucks and tankers. The crews aren't sure of their exact duties, but say they've had a little time to plan, knowing they were probably going to be sent out there.

"With the history of wildfires recently, and things that have been going on, we sat down yesterday and worked with a lot of the fire chiefs in the area and the county and we put together a list of folks that could go," Sikes said.

"Northeast Oklahoma is going to western Oklahoma, but we can do it. I mean I'm proud of these guys and everything that we do here. These guys, we're ready to rock and roll," Anderson said.

After the crews left, they had a three-plus hour drive. They tell me they will get a chance to rest for a while once they get there before they receive their assignments and head out to fight the fires.