Pawnee County Residents Work To Protect Homes From Wildfires


Monday, August 8th 2011, 7:35 pm
By: News On 6


Emily Baucum, News On 6

PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Wildfires continue to devastate parts of Pawnee County. Flames destroyed 10 homes and five other buildings near Terlton on Sunday.

8/8/2011 Related Story: Residents In Terlton Evacuated Due To Wildfires In Pawnee County

Anxious residents in one neighborhood can only watch, wait and hope their homes are spared.

Jamie Taylor didn't waste any time packing the car.

"The wind shifted directions and it just got me kind of freaked out, so I just thought it would be better if I wasn't in the way," she said.

Taylor's husband is one of the dozens of firefighters in the danger zone. He told her to take the kids and run.

"They're scared," Taylor said. "They know daddy's out there. They worry about him, we all do. All our firemen out there."

Most of these crews have battled the flames eight days straight. They're tired, worn down, but not giving up.

Some firefighters soaked hay bales that could ignite at a moment's notice, while homeowners protected their properties with limited resources.

Charles Ready says it was gut wrenching to watch his life's work, a car shop and 150 vehicles, char to pieces Sunday.

"We saved my house, but everything else I had to watch burn," Ready said.

The Taylors are driving away with clothing, the dog, and each other hoping their luck holds out.

"They saved us last night; let's hope they can do it again," Jamie Taylor said.

The Red Cross sent three damage assessment teams to Pawnee County Monday, but pulled them back, because right now, it's just too dangerous for them to be in the area.

Before they were recalled, the teams identified nine single family homes destroyed, six mobile homes destroyed and one other home affected by the fire.

The teams will go back to Pawnee County once it's safe to do so.

As for shelters, the Western Heights Baptist Church in Cleveland remains open and they can handle as many as 150 people, if necessary.