Grass Fires Keep Firefighters Busy


Thursday, March 8th 2007, 4:05 pm
By: News On 6


The Skiatook Fire Department had their hands full Thursday afternoon. Several grass fires threatened homes along state Highway 20, just west of U.S. Highway 75. News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims reports 12 to 14 fires popped up right along state Highway 20. That was too many and too close together to not raise suspicion.

“I mean we looked and the fire was right there," says Skiatook resident Judy Yates. All that remains Thursday night near where Judy Yates lives are blackened fields. But at the height of the fires, Judy Yates says she couldn't even make out her neighbor's home. "It was scary. I mean the smoke was so bad we couldn't see the house. We thought it was gone."

Skiatook’s fire chief says the dozen plus fires burned through hundreds of feet in just ten minutes. “The grass and the fire, they make their own wind. So it's going to go," says Fire Chief Don Butler. There are charred patches all along state Highway 20 from state Highway 11 to U.S Highway 75. The distance between them has fire fighters suspecting arson. "You just don't have that many fires in a row without somebody setting them," says Fire Chief Don Butler.

Skiatook firefighters got help from six other departments. And with that help, they were able to get the fires under control. "So we had several of them up here helping us. And that's the nice thing about the rural area. Everybody goes out and helps everybody."

The fires came close to several house in the area, but all are still standing according to Fire Chief Don Butler. "Yeah, it was very successful some of these homes and barns back behind us we could have lost a lot of personal equipment back here. And with all of the help. It was just outstanding. We got it put out real quick."

Overall, a good day for the Skiatook Fire Department, no injuries and no property lost. But they are still looking for the person they believe is responsible.