Grassfires Scorch Hundreds Of Acres Across State

Friday, February 23rd 2007, 2:32 pm
By: News On 6

Strong winds on Friday fueled a fire that burned part of a Green Country family's ranch and livelihood. The family reports a loss of more than $100,000 in damaged equipment alone. News on 6 anchor Jennifer Loren was at the ‘Double C Ranch’ near Vera in Washington County during the fire. She reports that the wind made it tough for firefighters to do their job.

Firefighters say they tried to get in front of the fire early on, but the Chief said the wind was blowing so hard, it was by "the Grace of God" that they saved as much as they did.

Friday’s fire started in a pecan grove on the edge of the ‘Double C Ranch’ and quickly spread toward the main house and barns. Flames burned all the way up to the brick of the main houses, and several other structures. Firefighters were able to save most of them, however, the ranch's main barn and lots of equipment were destroyed. The owner of the ‘Double C Ranch’ has lived there all his life, and said he built that barn as a school project in the ‘60s.

"With this wind they couldn't get ahead of it,” ranch owner Jim Colpitt said. “They had to fight it when they set it at the fence line, just set it. That’s the only thing they could do. And I was right there when the barn caught fire and I just watched it go up."

No one was injured in the fire. Firefighters don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they suspect a neighbors old burn pile rekindled with the strong winds and spread.

Out west Firefighters in Oklahoma City also had problems with the winds. A junkyard near the Will Rogers Airport caught fire on Friday burning about 50 cars. Officials say firefighters are hampered because of the wind, and that there are no fire hydrants in the area.

Rural firefighters in Pawnee, Rogers and Washington counties also battled grassfires on Friday.

So far, there are not any reports of any injuries.

To check on the current fire/weather conditions for your county, click here.