Wildfires take a toll on rural firefighting equipment

Tuesday, November 29th 2005, 10:21 am
By: News On 6

This week's wildfires have burned more than 50,000 acres since Sunday, destroying some 50 homes and countless structures.

A McIntosh County man is in the hospital with severe burns and several firefighters suffered minor injuries. Of the sixteen counties where wildfires once blazed, firefighters continue to battle four fires in three Oklahoma counties.

Meantime, other small rural fire departments are surveying the damage and preparing for the rest of the fire season. Flat Rock's Volunteer Fire Department have three rigs going in for repairs after losing the brakes on one, a radio on another and a water pump on their newest vehicle.

The story is the same for many rural fire departments. Coweta Fire Chief Craig Hinton: "Some brush rigs that took quite a beating, a front end that was broken down that, with the help of our city garage, got that repaired. A U-joint on another rig and then our small engines, running for such a long time, had a little bit of trouble too."

Monday, Governor Brad Henry declared a wildfire emergency, an important step in requesting federal assistance, if state emergency officials determine there's enough damage. They should have a complete tally by the first of next week.