Stephens County Declares Disaster for District One - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Stephens County Declares Disaster for District One

MARLOW, Okla._It's been almost three weeks since ice blasted through much of our area. Now Stephens County is hoping to get some help from the state with clean up.

This week, Commissioners declared an emergency disaster for District One. The decision was made after ice blew through trees in the area, causing branches, limbs, and even whole trees to crash to the ground.

Commissioner Darrell Sparks says the damage across northern Stephens County is not severe enough to receive federal funds at this time. So by declaring an emergency disaster situation, they're hoping to grab the attention of the state and potentially receive up to $100,000 in assistance.

The creaking and cracking of trees can be heard all across District One of Stephens County -- trees that have given way to the relentless burden of ice back on December 20th. Three weeks later and the mess still remains, proving to be a nuisance for residents, and an even bigger challenge for officials.

"There's just quite a bit of debris, not a lot of big stuff, but just lots of limbs that needs to be cleaned up," said District One Commissioner Darrell Sparks.

So Sparks sat down with Stephens County Emergency Management this week and declared a disaster, hoping to draw some much-needed dollars from the State of Oklahoma.

"Just get some extra funds and some extra help to clean it up," he said.

Commissioner Sparks says any money that Stephens County would receive from the state would expedite the clean-up of ice-ravaged trees compounded by months, even years of severe drought.

"The drought, it's killed us. We got big huge dead trees on our right of ways that's probably been dead three years from the drought. It's getting dangerous, we gotta get them down before someone gets hurt," said Sparks.

Sparks says he hopes getting the dead trees and debris cleared away now will help the district prepare for the next big storm.

"You know, winter is a long time from being over.  We're likely to have another one or a blizzard, you can't ever tell in Oklahoma," he said.

Officials say state Emergency Management representatives will be in Stephens County within the next few days to survey the area. Sparks says he's determined to clean the ice damage up, regardless of being approved for state funds or not.

Meanwhile, Marlow crews are conducting limb disposal for residents within city limits every Saturday for the rest of the month.

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