At least six homes destroyed in wildfires


Thursday, August 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


At least six homes were destroyed Thursday as wildfires flared up across Oklahoma's dry landscape.

Firefighters were battling a 200-300 acre fire between Osage and Hominy in northeastern Oklahoma that may have destroyed as many as four homes and was threatening others, said Kurt Atkinson, assistant director of the state Forestry Division.

Atkinson said firefighters expected to get help from a National Guard helicopter. He described the area as one with five-acre ranchette type homes.

Chris Gabriel, emergency management director for the city of Hominy, said the area ablaze was called Frontier Shores between Cleveland and Hominy.

A fire east of Stilwell in northeastern Oklahoma destroyed at least one home, Atkinson said.

Ray Dobbins, a Stilwell firefighter, said three other homes were threatened but the fire was under control by about 4 p.m.

A blaze earlier in the day destroyed at least one home in Albion in far southeastern Oklahoma.

Atkinson said firefighters were holding the line on a blaze that destroyed 3,100 acres along McGee Creek in Atoka County on Thursday.

Atkinson said a National Guard Chinook helicopter that helped on that blaze "pulled back to McAlester waiting for us to see where we need to send him."

"Until we get rain it's going to be this way every day some place in the state," Atkinson said.

"If people aren't careful with fire, it's going to cause many problems."

Gov. Frank Keating has ordered an outside burning ban on all but Cimarron County in the Panhandle. Some areas of the state haven't had rain in two months. Many are at 30 days and counting.

Atkinson said conditions are so dry that even parking a car on grass could cause a fire from the catalytic converter.

"People just have to really be careful," he said.