Destructive Green Country Wildfires Re-Ignite, Drive Dozens From Their Homes

Saturday, August 6th 2011, 10:27 am
By: News On 6

Staff Reports

UNDATED -- The rain couldn't come soon enough as massive wildfires consumed the dry Oklahoma vegetation while firefighters scrambled to save the dozens of homes in their path.

Authorities evacuated people in the area of 241st West Ave from 51st south to 71st Streets. At least two homes were lost in Saturday's flare-up.

Several departments, including Keystone, Sand Springs, Sapulpa  and Glenpool were back out under the hot sun as Saturday gets a fiery start.  Near Lake Keystone, flames are burning near the KRMG tower station, destroying bales of hay and in one case - a tractor sitting out in a field.

"When fire can't go up, it has to go traverse, it moves across the ground. So we had a split decision to save the truck or save the tractor and it just got us," said Mannford homeowner William Jeffries.

The Keystone fire chief believes the fire, that turned into several fires, started by someone baling hay.

Keystone volunteer firefighters began near 61st Street South and 265th West Avenue with the fire rapidly moving north and east near Coyote Trail.

Helicopters are helping with the aerial attacks.

An area homeowner is taking no chance. She runs inside the home to grab photos and irreplaceables.

"By the time I went three miles to the east and got back, it had spread a quarter mile wide and it was coming fast," said Hay Baler Gary Poppy.

The fire threatened several Keystone Lake area homes but firefighters managed to beat it back each time.

On Friday night, blazes burned some structures along with grass in trees around Mannford, Prue, Tahlequah, Kiefer and Sapulpa.

8/5/2011 Related Story: Grass Fires Rage Across Green Country, Burn Structures, Threaten Homes

You could see the relief on faces when the skies over Mannford opened up -- pouring rain all over a very dry Green Country.

Grass fires (day 2)

The Keystone fires burned between 3,000 - 4,000 acres. A total of 12 firefighters were treated at the scene for dehydration and unspecified injuries.

Tahlequah Fire Department provided mutual aid to the Lowrey Fire Department battling a large grassfire. Unconfirmed reports are that two homes were lost in that blaze.