Grass Fires Burn Parts Of Osage And Washington Counties


Thursday, November 4th 2010, 5:31 pm
By: News On 6


Staff and Wire reports

OSAGE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Firefighters were kept busy Thursday afternoon in rural Osage and Washington counties responding to grass fires.

A fire in Osage County broke out Thursday afternoon near 53rd Street North and Highway 97.

Smoke could be seen from miles away in the air. 

SkyNews6 caught a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter dropping water on the fire.  The chopper scooped up water from a nearby pond and dousing flames and hot spots.

Sperry firefighters worked to get the fire under control from the ground. 

There were some homes nearby, but it's unknown if any of them were affected.

The high winds on Thursday afternoon helped to spread a grass fire in Osage County north and west of Tulsa.

The fire was near 53rd Street North and state Highway 97.

Firefighters had to get assistance from National Guard Black Hawk helicopters which dropped water on the flames. The choppers scooped up water from a nearby pond and dousing flames and hot spots.

Sperry firefighters worked to get the fire under control from the ground.

Winds also spread another grass fire near Vera in Washington County.  Several rural fire departments responded to that fire late Thursday afternoon.

So far, there have not been injuries or structure damage reported due to these fires.

In a related matter, Governor Brad Henry has asked the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to issue a federal disaster designation in all 77 Oklahoma counties to assist farmers and ranchers.

In a letter sent Thursday, Henry told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak that extreme weather and drought conditions have caused serious damage and losses to Oklahoma's agriculture and ranching industries.

The letter noted that summer and fall crops, hay forages, livestock grazing lands, and alfalfa have been particularly hard-hit.

Henry asked that federal officials authorize the Farm Service Agency to complete damage assessment reports for a period from November 1, 2009, to October 31.

If approved, Oklahoma farmers and ranchers will be eligible for low-interest loans to address losses caused by the extreme weather conditions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.