Massive grassfire contained in OK

Red flag warnings issued across state as firefighters contain big grassfire that scared many Oklahoma City residents

BY STEPHANIE BACKUS | OKLAHOMA CITY | February 21, 2009


Local firefighters contained a spectacular grassfire Friday evening -- that at its height was approximately mile wide before it could reach homes in southwest Oklahoma City. Deputy Chief Cecil Clay estimated 40 to 50 acres burned in the blaze.

Clay said the fire department did not evacuate residents in homes near the fire, but that some may have left their home themselves.

"It's possible that some self-evacuated because of the heavy amount of smoke blowing toward their homes," he said. "We have high winds and that makes the smoke move quickly and keeps it close to the ground."

Clay said the fire damaged no homes, but the department put engine companies near the homes in case fire came close.

Clay said it looked like the fire may have been caused by someone flicking a cigarette out of their car window as they were driving near the prairie land.

"The general public doesn't think about these things until there are a lot of fires like this," he said. "So it would be really nice if people make sure they don't do any outside burning and control their heat sources. They need to take precautions so we don't get situations like this."

Several counties in the state have issued burn bans and the National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings in areas at risk of burning. According to the National Weather Service, red flag warnings are issued where conditions are ripe for wildfires or good wildfire conditions will develop quickly.


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