Senators Lankford, Inhofe Tour Wildfire Damage In NW OK

Friday, March 10th 2017, 5:25 pm
By: News 9

Firefighters are still working to contain hot spots from the massive wildfire in Northwest Oklahoma. This is the largest wildfire that has swept Oklahoma, burning more than 312,000 acres in the state.

With an even more daunting number, the Oklahoma Forestry Services estimates 1.4 million acres are burnt throughout the four states of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Colorado.

On Friday, a press conference was held at the West Woodward Airport to offer resources to those impacted by the wildfires. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Sen. James Lankford both spoke at the news conference to let residents know about federal assistance programs.

The two senators surveyed the damage in the morning.

“I’ve never seen the level of devastation that we’ve seen here,” said Inhofe.

Some of the federal programs available include Emergency Loans, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, Livestock Forage Disaster program, and many more.

Lankford said some of the programs are time-limited and are advising neighbors to take a look at them sooner than later.

“This information we’re trying to get out to you is hopefully in a timely manner so you can pause for a moment, take a look at it, see what areas you may qualify for, and we can start the paperwork,” said Lankford.

Drew Daily is an incident commander for Oklahoma Forestry Services. He said just in the Northwest Oklahoma, the four wildfires within the complex are the size of Rhode Island and New York City combined. 

“We will not call the fire contained until we are confident that it will withstand the test of repetitive fire weather events,” said Daily.

Firefighters all the way from Montana to Florida have made it to Northwest Oklahoma to help with the fires. And firefighters will continue to work on flare-ups until they can safely say the wildfire is 100-percent contained.

Multiple homes and farms are destroyed. Six people have died from the wildfire, including an Oklahoman in Harper County.

Tom Buchanan, President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, was also at the press conference.

“This will not be fixed overnight,” Buchanan said.

Several organizations and individuals have stepped forward to donate from all across the state.

“Remember this area in your prayers and your wishes. It will be a long time recovering,” Buchanan said,

See a list of federal assistance programs.