Family Reflects On Evacuating Woodward County Wildfire That Destroyed Home
WOODWARD COUNTY, Oklahoma - Woodward County emergency managers said a fire near Mooreland burned nearly a square mile and claimed three homes.
One of those houses belonged to Sherree Reed. She and her husband rent the property that sits just a hundred yards from their own.
“The kids and I had enough time to load up in the car and grab the dogs, and we had to get out,” Reed said.
Dry vegetation, low humidity and winds gusting near 60 miles per hour fueled the flames.
“We were actually just cleaning the shop and had just walked up to the house,” Reed said. “By the time I looked out the window, everything was covered in smoke.”
A wind change, causing Sherree to flee with her children.
“I had actually just got off the phone with my husband, saying that we got pretty lucky that there’s no fires yet, and that next 15 minutes I had to get out,” Reed said.
Woodward County Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer said state foresters were staged in Woodward ready to help local first responders.
“Just about two o’clock, we had the fire call come in about a mile southwest of Mooreland, and the winds at that point were blowing to the northeast at 60 miles per hour,” Lehenbauer said.
He said while he’s thankful for the foresters, he hopes possible budgets to their department won’t limit future responses. He said making Tuesday night’s fire even more dangerous, firefighters on the ground were strained due to a lack of state resources.
“One of the issues we had on this fire was some funding cuts to Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop O,” Lehenbauer said. “We’ve lost our aircraft that covers Northwest Oklahoma, and those eyes from the sky that watch our firefighters and can see that dangerous fire line coming up.”
For now, residents are looking forward to rain and sharing their appreciation for local first responders.
“Thank you guys so much for everything you do and for the fast response,” Reed said. “Because, it was quick yesterday.”
Fire crews are still monitoring hot spots near Fargo Wednesday. Officials said that fire burned 4,500 square-acres and did not claim any structures.