Hundreds of acres scorched after fire tears through Okmulgee County

OKMULGEE CO, Okla. — Hundreds of acres are scorched after a fire tore through Okmulgee County.

Dry and windy conditions caused a controlled burn to get out of hand Saturday afternoon, leading to 900 acres being burned near Ferguson Road and Bixby Road in Okmulgee County.

Multiple fire departments from different agencies showed up to put the fire out.

Okmulgee County Emergency Management said that there were hot spots into the night that they were working to contain.

Andy James with Oklahoma Forestry Services said Oklahoma has ranked in the top 10 in the country in the number of wildfires and the number of acres burned.

He said since Feb. 24, 40 wildfires have burned more than 158,000 acres in the state.

“In less than a week, we burned over our 5-year annual average, and we still have the rest of March to go, and I’ve seen years where we go really deep into April, and so you know, we’re not out of the fight yet,” James said.

James said that mutual aid is essential in rounding up enough resources to keep the fire contained.

Bixby Fire Department is one of nearly a dozen different agencies that responded to the fire in Okmulgee County.

“We’ll usually send in several guys out there to take rotations on things like that. Wildfires are more of a marathon than a sprint. So, it takes a little while, it takes a lot of resources to do that,” said Bixby Firefighter Easton Meaux.

Through partnership, Oklahoma Forestry Services is bringing in equipment from Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky to fight fires across the state.

James recommends to have a plan in place before you’re in the fire’s path.

“Make sure that you know your evacuation route. Have an emergency plan in place where if you  have belongings, paperwork, you know obviously family members, pets, different things like that, game all that stuff out and figure out where you’re going to go to be safe,” James said.

Oklahoma Forestry Services said to not use a garden hose as the fire approaches, thinking you can extinguish it yourself. They said that the conditions are dangerous to seasoned firefighters, and the focus should be safety.

Okmulgee County Emergency Management shared a list of beneficial items that are commonly used at all fire departments and said donations are greatly appreciated anytime.

Items on the list include:

  • Bottled Water
  • Gatorade/Powerade
  • Non-Perishable Snack Items
  • Granola Bars, Assorted Nuts, Packaged Crackers, Protein Bars
  • Mints/Gum
  • Baby Wipes
  • Chapstick
  • Eye Drops
  • Nasal Spray
  • Tylenol / Ibuprofen
  • Zip Lock Bags-Gallon & Sandwich Size
  • Grocery Store Gift Cards or Visa Gift Cards (so that sandwiches and fresh food items can be purchased as needed during fires)

OCEM said donations are accepted at their office as they are used for the rehab of first responders on fire scenes and other events.





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