Evacuations were in place Sunday for homes in the path of a wildfire that swept across nearly 900 acres in southeast Oklahoma City, but many people chose to stay put to help protect their properties.
Luckily, this wildfire did not destroy any homes, but it got very close multiple times. Firefighters said there are steps you can take ahead of high fire danger periods like this that can save you some of the worry.
Two-hundred firefighters, aerial support and a variety of trucks had trouble getting a handle on this strong and shifting fire. Angeleana Davis and her family took matters into their own hands by carrying buckets of water to douse hot spots in their backyard.
"It got right up against our fence, right up against our propane tank actually," Davis said. "My mom was getting towels and beating the fire.”
“What we want people to do is not try to fight the fires themselves because these things are so volatile,” said Oklahoma City fire Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson. “You can find yourself overcome by smoke or flames very quickly.”
Even though firefighters urged homeowners to get out of harm's way, they actually helped put out some hot spots that crews could not get to while battling the worst of the flames.
“We have our home here,” defends Davis. “This is where we came to stay. We’ve made a lot of memories here.”
Others like Jason Turley watched from the south as the smoke crept ever nearer, taking preventive action by running sprinklers and making preparations to leave quickly if need be.
“I have my bird dogs loaded up, our cats loaded up and our computers loaded up and our safe, and that’s about all we can do,” said Turley.
Firefighters encourage you to make a wildfire safety plan with your family, just like you would for tornadoes and earthquakes. That includes having the essentials ready to go at a moment's notice, but also keeping vegetation trimmed back away from your home.
“You don’t want to let trees overhang your home,” said Fulkerson. “You want to keep your guttering clear of leaves and needles and anything that can burn. You have to keep in mind that an ember can travel up to a mile in front of the actual fire line.”
Those who did evacuate were let back inside the perimeter to get to their homes Sunday night.