Grass fire in Pawnee County


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Reported by: Sara Whaley
Updated: 2/21 10:02 pm Published: 2/21 4:55 pm


PAWNEE COUNTY, Okla. - Crews say they have a wildfire near Westport contained for the second time this week.

Friday night the tree line is standing still because the wind has died down in Pawnee County.

But earlier Friday, the winds were anything but calm.

That, along with low humidity, spelled disaster once again for volunteer fire departments.

"(It) started out like a clear calm day," said Mark Whaley.

However Whaley said that changed around noon on Fridaywhen fire approached his home.

"There was smoke pouring out of the woods and it was obvious we had trouble," said Whaley.

Whaley, a reserve for the Pawnee County Sheriff's Department, said he called for help and within minutes area volunteer fire departments were on scene.

"There’s no evacuations and we have not lost any structures," said Assistant Chief Mark Randell with Peninsula Fire Department.

The Peninsula fire crew was one of 10 volunteer departments on scene.

Randell told FOX23 the fire started on Tuesday.

"Pretty much worked through the night until 4:30 a.m. the next day," said Randall.

Randall said low humidity and high winds caused the fire to reignite.

Friday, however, and now more than 200 acres have burned.

Fortunately for Whaley, his house in the woods is still intact.

He gives the credit to the fire crews who work even when they're exhausted.

"You rely on your volunteer fire department. Those guys, they're the best," Whaley said.

Randell said he will stay at the scene of the fire through the night to make sure it doesn’t flare up again. He has sent most other crews home to get some rest because he's almost positive they'll be fighting this fire again Saturday.

"The fire danger is not going to get any less," Randall said.



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