Dry, Windy Conditions Have Oklahoma Firefighters On High Alert

Tuesday, March 11th 2014, 7:49 pm
By: Craig Day

With the strong winds, firefighters across Oklahoma are on alert, wondering what the coming days may bring.

At the Country Corner fire department near Sperry, firefighters always try to make sure trucks and equipment are ready at a moment's notice. With a high fire threat Tuesday, they're being extra diligent.

"You double check and triple check everything because you just want to be sure," said Country Corner Chief Jim Massey,

They're making sure portable water bags are filled, sprayers are working and the pre-mixed drip tanks used to set backfires are ready.

Assistant Chief Randall Williamson, said, "Make sure your tools are all in working condition."

The fire department is also in constant contact with other area departments to see what type of equipment and manpower is available if needed.

"In the fire service, no department stands alone," Massey said.

Even though we recently got snow, rain and ice in our area, it really didn't do a whole lot of good. In some places the grass is still several feet tall and it's incredibly dry. And when the wind is this strong, and a fire gets started, it's hard to control.

"I've had them before where you couldn't catch them on foot. Just try to get your truck positioned where it's not in the way of the flames. Stay in the black and fight it from there," Williamson said.

It's a fight they hope they don't have to handle. But firefighters across Oklahoma are gearing up and getting ready just in case.

"Everyone is on edge right now, because we know if something gets started we're going to have to rely on everyone. It's going to be an automatic aid call out to area departments," Massey said.

As long as it remains this windy and dry, there is always the potential, so firefighters want others to be cautious, while they want to be ready.

"Wait until conditions are better to burn something," Massey said. "We don't want to revisit Mannford two years ago."

Even with the conditions, and possible threat of wildfires, Wagoner County is the only county in our area that currently has a burn ban in place. It runs until the 16th.