Wildfires reach homes near Stillwater
BY SUSAN HYLTON & AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
7/31/12 at 6:19 AM
STILLWATER - After spending hours fighting three raging grass fires that destroyed homes and outbuildings Monday, firefighters were still working late into the night to contain one blaze east of the city.
Officials said the first and largest blaze, near Oklahoma 51 and Fairgrounds Road, was still burning at 9:30 p.m. Firefighters from several departments were able to contain two other grass fires within a half-mile of the first, Stillwater Fire Capt. Hoyt Griffith said.
At least one house and three vacant mobile homes burned in the early hours of the fire, along with several barns and other outbuildings, Stillwater Fire Marshal Trent Hawkins said Monday afternoon.
Hawkins said the fire at Oklahoma 51 and Fairgrounds Road had burned about two square miles of land in "a fairly wooded area" at that time.
Griffith said Monday evening that he had witnessed the fires consume two occupied mobile homes and one unoccupied trailer, but he said he heard varying reports of up to eight homes being damaged.
Some area residents left their homes voluntarily.
"We've been receiving calls wondering if they should evacuate," Hawkins said. "Our advice, since we don't know their exact location, is if they feel threatened in any way to go ahead and evacuate."
The extreme summer heat compounded problems for crews, and a staging area was set up at the Payne County Fairgrounds for hydration and emergency medical care as temperatures hovered around 109 degrees.
Medics transported at least three people, including a sheriff's deputy, to hospitals for treatment of heat exhaustion, Griffith said.
Area fire departments assisting Stillwater included Guthrie, Glencoe, Ingalls, Ripley and Rock Township.
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Flames leap into the smoke-filled sky as a wildfire rages near Oklahoma 51 and Fairgrounds Road in Stillwater on Monday. The blaze consumed several structures, and at least three people suffering from heat exhaustion were taken to hospitals. JEREMY UPSHAW / for the Tulsa World