Oklahomans Still Burning Despite Fire Risk

Sunday, March 13th 2011, 9:35 am
By: News On 6


UNDATED -- Volunteer and paid firefighters are working around the clock as wildfires continue to burn Sunday morning. Crews from numerous small departments are battling grassfires along the Turner Turnpike and U.S. Highway 33.

"We're going to need a weather break," said Assistant Chief Dannie Whitehouse of Sapulpa Fire Department's B Shift. "Before long we'll start getting guys hurt."

Despite the wildfires that destroyed homes and livestock earlier this weekend, people continue to ignore burn bans, Whitehouse said. When they're not battling fires, crews have had to run to shut down controlled burns in back yards and pastures over the last two days.

"We just ask people to think before you burn," Whitehouse said. "When it doubt, call your local fire department."

The Sapulpa firefighters were giving mutual aid along the Turner Turnpike at daybreak Sunday as fires burned along the highway from mile marker 199 to 203. Bristow and Kellyville firefighters were out battling other blazes, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol called the Sapulpa crew in to help.

"The smoke was blowing across the road making the driving difficult," Whitehouse said. "We're probably about seven to eight miles down the turnpike from where our run area usually ends."

At least 49 homes were lost Friday as wildfires burned across Oklahoma on Friday. Although conditions are improved and rain is in the forecast for Sunday afternoon, fire danger is still high.