Landowners Speak Out After Wildfires Scorch Logan County

Sunday, January 18th 2015, 10:37 pm
By: News 9

Frightening moments for dozens of Central Oklahomans as their land and barns went up in flames.

The widespread wildfires broke out just after before 1 p.m. Sunday. Several structures and a few homes were destroyed. At least 2,000 acres have burned.

Landowners are thankful that no one was hurt, but there was so much the fire destroyed.

It was an unexpected Sunday afternoon, as Barbara Tooley and her family came home from church and noticed their land was on fire.

"It was just a wall of white smoke and flames, and very scary," Tooley said.

With each flicker and flame, the retired cattle-raisers from Alabama, lost 90 bales of hay, all their grazing land, a shed and their barn burned to the ground.

"The fire jumped the road and came at us. And I mean within seconds it was all around us. We thought we ought to save our lives if we can't save the herd."

1/18/2015 Related Story: Wildfires Burn Hundreds Of Acres Across Central Oklahoma

Though their 19 cows were in danger, they were spared.

Like the Tooley's, landowners throughout Central Oklahoma were checking their property high and wide as the wildfire burned parts of Logan County for several hours. The fire even shut down I-35 both directions as the grass median was burning.

Near the highway, farmer Larry Miller lost much of his land's fence. It'll take a few thousand dollars to repair.

"Have to fix it, put it back so the cows don't get out," Miller said. "This isn't the first time fire has come close to us, the time of year, the grass is dry and low humidity, you're going to have a fire some place."

As the sun set across the Oklahoma sky, the Tooley family's eyes were set on their charred land, near County Road 73 and N Doulglas Blvd., but they're still optimistic.

"We'll just have to pray for a whole lot of rain. We'll have to work on getting the hay and making sure the cows are taken care of.”

The Tooley's say they'll have to start from scratch with all their hay gone at $45 a bale, making it more than a $4,000 loss. But thankfully, no deaths or injuries were reported.