CARNEGIE, Okla._High winds quickly spread a large grass fire in Caddo County Friday that burned more than 400 acres and threatened several buildings.
The Carnegie Fire Department, along with ten other area volunteer fire departments, continues to fight the blaze that started around noon, approximately three miles east of highway 58, just southeast of Carnegie. The fire is currently contained but all departments remain at the scene as flare ups continue to cause problems for firefighters.
Friday's high winds have made the fire fight extremely difficult, especially being paired with the location where the fire broke out. At times, firefighters have been forced to wait because they just weren't able to get to its source. The smoke could be seen for miles, the flames taking on high grass and pastures with a mighty fury leaving firefighters with no choice but to continue to actively fight the blaze more than four hours after it broke out.
The blaze started in an area that was difficult for firefighters to get to, "It is in extremely tall grass. We are in a lot of timber and brush that we can't in to fight it. So we are having to go in and try to walk it out the best that we can," said Fore Chief Mark Taylor.
And the high winds sent embers and sparks flying miles away into open fields and pastures that were extremely dry. It's a scenario that Chief Taylor said proves challenging for any fire department, "We have had several places where we have had the fire out and it has jumped several hundred yards into fresh grass making the embers extremely dangerous."
Thanks to the teamwork of area fire departments and nearby farmers, no structures have been lost. The fire did burn within 100 feet of at least one home and that's why Chief Taylor said it is essential that people be especially cautious during these times of extreme fire danger, "Fires right now in Oklahoma where the whole country is dry and so people need to really be careful. We put a lot of people at risk. Not only the firemen but the general public."
Chief Taylor also said while they have a good idea where the fire started but are still trying to determine what caused the fire, they plan to conduct a full investigation to determine the cause. He also said that this fire could have easily caused even more extensive property damage and it is essential that people avoid any outdoor burning or fire starting activities as long as the area is in a red flag warning.