Lawton_Firefighters and property owners are breathing a sigh of relief in eastern Comanche County following a wildfire that burned about 6,000 acres Saturday afternoon and smoldered into the evening.
The fire broke out in a field between East 90th Street and Trail Road and from there, dry grass and strong wind fueled the blaze as it rapidly moved Northeast. 45 homes in the path of the flames were evacuated as firefighters from 25 different departments arrived to save them. Firefighters were put to the test by the intense grass fire as it burned for nearly four hours. Now, everyone is relieved - for two good reasons. First, no lives were lost; second, no homes were lost.
Flower Mound Fire Chief Josh Sullivan was one of the first on the scene and says the original came in that a welder had started the fire. "We started the fire with five trucks of our own, then it continued on and we had numerous fire departments here I think we had 25 fire departments here today," he says.
Sullivan says with the high winds, the grass fire was able to proceed north about four miles. And, with all the rain the area saw last spring, the grass has grown very tall which made battling the flames quite a challenge. "We essentially got ahead of this fire about 3 miles north of Highway 7. On Rogers Lane it runs into a bunch of creek bed and those creek beds slowed it down a bunch," he says.
At one point, the fire was threatening homes and Emergency Management urged those in the area to evacuate. "There was a point when the fire did get near some heavily populated home areas just north of Townly Road," says Sullivan. And, firefighters weren't alone; Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Comanche County Sheriff's Department, EMT's and the Salvation Army were on the scene to provide food and water.
"We had a great mutual aid response from all of our fire departments throughout our county and we just want to thank them they did a great job before this fire got any further and damaged any structures or homes," Sullivan says. He says they will be spreading out throughout the night to keep an eye on the area to ensure there aren't any unexpected fires. He says they'll be mopping up the perimeter - which means they'll be wetting it down - since winds are expected to reach 15 to 20 miles per hour off and on this week.