Numerous Homes Destroyed As Grass Fires Erupt In Parts Of Oklahoma

Friday, August 3rd 2012, 2:56 pm
By: News 9

Several grass fires broke out across the Sooner State Friday. Numerous structures, including people's homes, have been destroyed.

Grass Fires in Cleveland County:

Two fire commands are being utilized to battle the massive wildfires along highway 9 in Cleveland County.

More than 120 fire crews have joined the fight over the last 24 hours, shutting down about six miles along highway 9 Saturday night.

Firefighters stationed at Thunderbird Casino have asked News 9 crews to stay back because the wildfires out here are popping up about as fast as they can get one out and on to the next.

An area near 156th and highway 9 is where they've had to concentrate and work a lot Saturday.

The Norman fire chief says this is all one big stubborn fire that started in Slaughterville on Friday. That's why they're working close with those guys out there and wants to give out info for everyone in the area.

Right now firefighters say this whole area, about 15 square miles of fires, is 50 percent contained. But the wind and weather not doing them any favors, so they want local residents to stay alert, let them work.

Fire officials say two grass fires broke out in Cleveland County Friday afternoon. Crews responded to the first grass fire between 120th Street, 156th Street and Cemetery Road. A second grass fire broke out in the area of 132nd and Maguire Road.  

Firefighters from Maguire, Lexington, Little Ax, Cedar Country, and Slaughterville have responded to this fire.

Norman police told News 9 that Cedar Lane and Etowah Road are still closed due to downed power lines in the area and hot spots, as of 12 p.m. Saturday. Maguire Road and Cemetery Road are now open. Norman police have shut down Highway 9 from 84th Avenue and 156th Avenue. Drivers are advised to use Stella Road as an alternate route. On the east, they should use 168th or 180th Avenue, and on the west side, use 60th Avenue.

Both east and westbound lanes of SH-9 are closed between E. 84th Ave. and E. 168th Ave. east of Norman until further notice due to fires. Drivers must locate alternate route or use US-77 and SH-102.

Noble Emergency Management reports the fire that started at 132nd and McGuire Road is threatening 75 to 100 homes.

Authorities is Noble have closed public access from Cedar Lane to Maguire (north and south) and 120th to 156th east and west. The area is not however under a mandatory evacuation notice. Fire officials suggest residents leave the area if they see the fire advancing. 

The Red Cross reports more than 100 buildings may have been destroyed, that includes several dozen homes.

Two National Guard helicopters are assisting firefighters. Numerous surrounding fire departments are providing mutual aid, including task forces from Garvin, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties.

Officials say residents in the area just north of Etowah Road to south of Maguire Road, and from west of 120th Street to south of 132nd Street have been evacuated.

Another evacuation is underway from 120th to 168th, and from north of Post Oak, and south of Banner Road.

A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the area just north of Highway 9 and south of Maguire, and west of 120th and east of 168th street.

At least 100 people were evacuated in the Cleveland County area Friday night.

An evacuation center is now set up at Slaughterville Baptist Church located at 10101 60th Street, Lexington, on the corner of state highway 77 and 60th St. 

The Norman Fire Department is the go-to agency for wildfire information going forward.

If you have horses that have been evacuated, you can bring them to the Lloyd Noble Arena in Norman, contact Margie at (405)-306-4290.

Noble Animal Clinic says it will also take in pets of those evacuated for free. Contact the clinic at (405)-872-8382.

Donations can be dropped off at the Church of Christ in Noble located at 101 N Main St. in Noble.

News 9 received several emails about a flare-up in Little Axe. The fire chief confirmed with us there are some flare-ups in the trees, but he says he believes these fires are contained, and they are not threatening any structures.

However, the fire chief says even though the fire is contained, the area is still not safe for people to return home.

Emergency crews have issued a voluntary evacuation of the area near the fires in Cleveland County. It is however not mandatory.

Fire officials say they have the extinguished approximately half of the fire and are now focusing their attention on the main body, located near 156th St. and south of highway 9, near the Thunderbird Casino. Crews are also flanking the blaze off 120th St.

Grass Fire near Luther, Oklahoma:

Firefighters from across the metro continue to put out hot spots from a grass fire that broke out Friday afternoon in Luther. As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the grass fire is 80 percent contained, according to officials.

Seven firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

A grass fire broke out in the area of 150th and N. Luther Road, two miles south of Luther, Oklahoma, Friday afternoon.

According to officials, about 56 structures were destroyed as a result of the flames. A daycare center has also gone up and more damage is being anticipated overnight. OG&E has shut off the power grid to the town.

The grass fire has burned about 2621 acres, according to officials.

About 200 firefighters have been on scene battling this blaze. There are also approximately 30 agencies helping out. No air resources are available because they were being used to fight fires elsewhere.

Between 75 and 100 sheriff's deputies were on scene evacuating residents, although some people have refused to leave. Extra deputies will be on scene in Luther for the next few days.

Turner Turnpike was closed from Oklahoma City to Tulsa due to this fire. It reopened Friday night.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office say they received a report at around 4 p.m. Friday that someone driving a 2008 black Ford F-150 pickup truck was tossing out newspaper that had been set on fire.

If you have any information about the truck, contact the Sheriff's Office at (405)-869-2501.

An evacuation center has been moved to Harmony Christian Church located at 7100 S. Choctaw Rd. The Luther Community Center will be open at 8 a.m. Saturday for those affected by wildfires. 

Wildfire between Ninnekah and Alex:

Firefighters have extinguished all of the fires in Grady County, between Ninnekah and Alex Saturday.

The fires broke out Friday afternoon. 

Residents in the area just north of highway 19, south of County Road 1510, and west of County Road 2860, and east of County Road 2920, were evacuated, according to officials.

There are approximately 40 to 50 houses and structures in that area.

State highway 19 was tempoprarily closed south of Chickasha between US 81 and state highway 19C at Alex while crews fought the fires.

An evacuation center has been set up at Ninnekah high school cafeteria, located at 810 South Walnut.

Grass Fire near Justice, Oklahoma:

A grass fire broke out just west of Justice, located in Rogers County in Oklahoma. Officials say it is about half mile wide and a mile long.

Fifteen agencies are now battling this fire. Officials say they believe it is contained.

No structures have been lost in this fire.

Grass Fires in Creek County:

Emergency responders held a news conference Saturday morning as wildfires continue to burn in Creek County. They say 21 agencies have been battling the fires overnight, and they hope to get the fire contained soon.

Officials told News 9 that they would not be able to give the number of structures lost to the blaze until the fire has been controlled. At that time, they can assess damages.

Stephens said they believe the fire was man-made, possibly as a result of burning brush. The fire started on Creek Nation land.

About 50,000 acres have been affected by the fire, in a path about 6 miles wide by 13 miles deep. Stephens said the perimeter of the fire is from State Highway 16 just past Highway 51 and from Highway 48 to Highway 99.

8/4/2012 Related Story: Creek County Authorities: More Structures Lost To Wildfire

Wildfire near Geary, Oklahoma:

A large wildfire broke out near Geary Thursday night, and some residents in a rural area south of town have been told to leave their homes.

8/3/2012 Related Story: Firefighters Race To Contain Wildfire Near Geary

As of Friday afternoon, the fire is 50 percent contained. However, officials say due to the wind and dry conditions, it is hard to keep it contained.

The blaze started sometime Thursday evening in a canyon in Blaine County near Route 66. Since then, it's moved north about five miles towards the city of Geary. Authorities say if it gets any closer, they will begin evacuations in the city.

All houses one mile to the west of Highway 281, outside the city limits, have been evacuated.

State Highway 281 is closed south of Geary. The Canadian County Sheriff's Office reported the fire destroyed several structures, including at least one house and a mobile home.

About 2,000 acres have burned, but no injuries were immediately reported.

Roughly 20 homes south of Geary are evacuated and an evacuation center is set up at Geary City Hall. No homes in Geary have been evacuated.

Additional fires have been reported in Lincoln and Muskogee counties, as well as Elk City in Roger Mills County, Ft. Cobb in Caddo County and Preston in Okmulgee County, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

Burn Ban Information:

On Friday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has issued at statewide burn ban for all 77 Oklahoma counties due to worsening drought conditions. It is effective immediately.

8/3/2012 Related Story: Governor Issues Statewide Burn Ban For Oklahoma

State Forester George Geissler said reports of fire activity across the state are increasing and Oklahomans should report any fire they see immediately.

Donations Information:

Oklahoma County commissioners have established several collection sites for donations of food, clothing, appliances, furniture, bedding and toys for fire victims. The Christmas Connection will oversee collections and disbursements to families forced from their homes by the fires.

Those donations sites are below:

  • 7321 NE 23rd Street, OKC.
  • 11500 N. Hudson, OKC.
  • 7105 S. Anderson, OKC.
  • 8029 S.E. 29th Street (Sheriff's Substation), MWC.

Oklahoma County Commissioners Brian Maughan and Willa Johnson will be accepting donations for fire victims for the next week at the following located in Oklahoma City:

  • 11500 North Hudson.
  • 7105 South Anderson.
  • 7321 N.E. 23rd.
  • The Sheriff's substation at Se 29th and Midwest Boulevard.

The office of emergency management is directing all donations of Gatorade and water to Feed the Children warehouse at 31 North McCormick from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Keep checking back to this story for the latest updates on grass fires across Oklahoma.You can send your grass fire pictures to News 9 at