Grass Fires Keep Emergency Crews Busy

Monday, January 19th 2009, 10:09 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, News On 6

UNDATED -- Dry weather has created the perfect conditions for grass fires in Green Country. Several sprang up on Monday and experts say to expect more until we get some rain.

Officials say a grass fire near Leonard has been burning on and off since last Tuesday. Every time firefighters think they have it under control, it begins blazing again.

"It's going to take several more hours to try and get it. We've got some separate distinct fires," said Chief Lee Johnson, Liberty Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Lee Johnson says there are about 150 homes in the area, but as of Monday afternoon, none of them were threatened by the fire.

That wasn't the case in Coweta. Firefighters were able to stop a grass fire before it reached a house, but they say if dry conditions continue, they expect to deal with a lot more of them in the near future.

"We always like to remind the residents to keep debris cleared from their homes and just be safe out there with the dry conditions," said Chief Craig Henton, Coweta Fire Department.

"It's been accumulating for some time now and all it takes is a little bit of wind," said Dick Faurot, News On 6 Meteorologist.

Faurot says expect the dry conditions to last at least through the end of this week. Further adding to the problem, he says, is the fact that the last two winters have been wet.

That means more vegetation has sprung up. Throw in leftover ice storm debris and you've got plenty of fuel for fires.

"It's not rocket science. Wind blows, wintertime in Oklahoma, lots of vegetation around here, low humidity levels especially with the north wind. Just not a good time to try to burn everything," said Faurot.

McIntosh, Pittsburg and Okfuskee are the only counties that have issued burn bans. To keep tabs on your county, visit Oklahoma Forestry Services.