Mayes, Rogers County Firefighters Extinguish Several Grass Fires

Monday, January 27th 2014, 7:22 am
By: Dave Davis

Rural firefighters in Rogers and Mayes counties battled grass and brush fires near Inola and Chouteau late Sunday and early Monday.

The Inola Police Department said a fire on South 4200 Road, southwest of Inola was sparked by power lines knocked down by strong winds overnight.

It took crews from four departments to get the fire under control. It burned mostly ranch land, but, it could have claimed much more.

Barney Grigg, the Inola Emergency Manager, said, "It was jumping and moving. It was one of the worst ones I've seen and I've done it for close to 40 years."

That's how fiercely the wind was blowing, Sunday night into Monday morning. Grigg said a strong gust blew over a large power pole around 10 p.m. Sunday.

The major transmission line is now repaired. But when those live wires hit the dry brush, it not only knocked out power to the town, but immediately sparked a fire.

Firefighters got the initial call at about 10:30 p.m.  The fire spread for about two miles before firefighters were able to put it out by about 3 a.m. Monday. 

"We're just west of Inola, and this is a great view of the expanse of this fire. Firefighters who were on scene say the winds like this cause the flames to jump 30 to 40 yards at a time," said Grigg. 

The fire burned dozens of acres on JD Ranch. The owner, Joe Don Eaves, told us over the phone that it would have been devastating if the fire crews hadn't arrived so quickly, and he's thankful they did.

Ranch hand Bob Bowman agrees, "Half mile west, it would have burnt up headquarters."

While the fire did burn a lot of ranch land, no one in the Inola area lost any livestock or buildings.

"I feel real lucky," Bowman said. "Could have really been bad, could have burned up a lot of buildings, houses."

Schools in Inola were closed Monday because the fire knocked out power there and in Chouteau.

PSO said everyone's electricity is back on.

Firefighters also put out a five-acre fire near Chouteau late Sunday.