Several fires in Logan County, Oklahoma burn over 1,000 acres

Oklahoma fire
Screen shot from the video below. News9.

The video below has some interesting footage of fires burning in Logan County, Oklahoma. Near the beginning it shows someone operating a small tractor with a blade, straddling the flaming edge which has flame lengths of one to four feet. It appeared that his efforts were futile, since flames were still visible at times behind him on the unburned side of the fireline. It is hard to believe there was not some damage done to the tractor — or the operator.

Three blazes in the area burned a total of about 1,300 acres, destroyed several structures, and required the closure of an interstate highway.

Fire Aviation has a video showing two National Guard Blackhawk helicopters dropping water on one of the fires.

Below is an excerpt from an article at News9:

A voluntary evacuation order was issued for residents living east of Choctaw Rd., north of Prairie Grove Rd. all the way to highway 105 and on the north, as well as at Triple X Rd. on the east; a total of approximately four square miles, including the town of Meridian, Okla. The evacuation order was lifted just after 5:30 p.m.

The Oklahoma Red Cross opened a wildfire evacuation center at the First Christian Church, located at 402 E. Noble, in Guthrie.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) had to shut down Interstate 35 in both directions, at mile marker 163, due to multiple car crashes in the area caused by the wild fire crossing the highway. Troopers reopened I-35 in both directions around 4:30 p.m. The highway was closed for approximately one hour and fourteen minutes.

The first fire started in the area of Hiwassee in Guthrie and stretched to Henney Rd. in Coyle. Firefighters contained the fire shortly after it began. Then a second fire sparked in the area of Redland Rd. and County Road 0730. A third fire flared up just south of Seward Rd., about two miles west of I-35.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Johnny.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

11 thoughts on “Several fires in Logan County, Oklahoma burn over 1,000 acres”

  1. Well if riding on the engine wasn’t enough risk to getting killed, they are wearing full structural PPE. Not too bright.

  2. I ve learned what is not too bright is also governed by economic constraints at the local Guv and local VFD level……

    Sure there are Fed programs to alleviate SOME of these issues usually with strings attached…….

    If you are a wildland FFTR commenting ….study your local AOR before leveling the not too bright card…

    Riding on engines…??? I am sure there are insurance companies looking at this…..

  3. Looks like that would be a hard one to catch.. Looks wind driven, pure grass, long flame lengths, under resourced…

    Assuming the guy on the tractor had a small blade and was trying to build guard as close to fire edge as possible… Good try, but no dice…

    As long as no one got hurt…..

  4. Did anyone catch what started the fire or fires?

    No, the guy on the tractor was trying to smother the flames.

    Common tactic, not a good tactic, but common. Once we started getting out in the community and teaching some classes the farmers and others with heavy equipment started building line around the fire, not trying to smother the fire.

  5. With fifty fire season I thought I had seen it all. I had never seen a tractor straddling the fire. Never too old to learn new tactics. Hope man and machine are O.K. Tractor manufacture should use this footage to proof that their product holds-up under (over) fire. “VERY INTERESTING”?

  6. I was out there in 2006 during the drought. Those guys strap into those brush trucks and swarm the fire like bees. It is the only tactic I saw them do for direct attack. They would place wet lines on farm roads for in-direct attack and then attack the flank as it approached the wet line. The fires out there are amazingly fast in the 10-30 mph winds and that tall grass fuel. Ag losses as well as homes were common on the larger fires 1000+ acres.
    One of the craziest things I saw while I was there was a motor grader doing the same thing this guy on the tractor was doing. We were on a 3500+ acre fire along I-35 near Paul’s Valley and Springer. We were trying to keep a flank from jumping a road and all of the sudden I heard a machine roaring behind me on the other side of the road. The fire had spotted into that farm and the owner had a grader going down his fence line straddling the flames and turning the ground with flames, grass, and dirt back onto itself and putting the fire out. It was something to see as long as he kept up with it. The winds and fuel eventually won the battle and we ran the fire to the trees. Out there you catch the fire in the timber. Strange but true!!!

  7. For a good refresher on how serious these fires can be, grab a look at the video put out by the Texas Forest Service called “Fight Fire from the Black” or the video from the Lessons Learned Center titled “It’s only a Grass Fire” Somber reminders that grass fires kill firefighters.

  8. I lived in Stillwater, OK until recently and have rode on the equipment of a couple of the VFDs around that area. The places where firefighters ride are typically solid bars up to about mid-thigh with securable chains up to near the diaphragm (based on a 6’1″ man). In my experience riding back there is very stable. As far as PPE goes, the VFDs are often hard up for funds, especially smaller departments, so their structural gear serves as their standard roll out gear.

  9. Allow me to add another resource re: the danger of grass fires. This case study is from a fire in Yolo County in No. Calif.
    In August 1995, a VFD engine from Capay Valley Fire Dist. responded to a grass fire. A young female firefighter named Kelley York was severally burned.
    CDF produced a 20“ training video available on the web. Type in “the Kelly York Story”.

    One of my favorite grass fire tactics (if the flame lengths preclude direct attack) is to lay down a Class A foam line parallel to the fire edge and either let the fire hit it or , in some cases, burn out from the foam line as you go.
    One watch out when operating from the black is avoiding stopping with a tire on a burning cow pie. I have lost a tire doing that!
    Be careful out there this next summer.

  10. Oh the burning cow pies!!! It is like being on a different planet at night to see the landscape lit up by all the glowing red objects in the fields.

    These VFDs are severely tight on money, equipment, and personel. While out there we saw them put out a structure fire using only type six engines. Since that is all they had. 2.5 ton water tenders and type six engines is just about all you will see in rural Oklahoma.

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