Local firefighters deploy to help Northwest Oklahoma wildfires

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BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) -- Firefighters are preparing for what the National Weather Service said will be historic fire conditions on Tuesday and reinforcements have been called in to help the Northwest Oklahoma wildfires.

Departments from Bryan, Carter, Pontotoc and Marshall counties said they joined 500 other firefighters to battles those massive blazes.

"Rescue 7, Brush 4, there's a forestry truck over there by that fire to the east," said West Bryan County firefighter Brent Hall.

East of Putnam, Oklahoma in Dewey County, just four hours away is where a handful of Bryan County fire departments are battling the Rhea Fire. It's consumed nearly 250-thousand acres in a matter of days.

"It's been a long weekend," said Kingston firefighter James Kuykendall.

Marshall County firefighters got home early Monday morning after working the 34 Complex fire north of Mooreland, Oklahoma. It's burned over 67-thousand acres so far.

"First day we were on a mop up detail and patrol assignment," Kuykendall said. "We were looking for hot spots, making sure it wasn't going to rekindle and start back up."

But the crews ran into trouble.

"We had a flare up and burnt about 15-hundred, two-thousand acres Saturday afternoon so we had an active, very active fire afternoon," Kuykendall said.

"We're actually fighting a wildfire right here right now," said Bennington firefighter Travis McIntyre.

Bryan County crews battled this blaze Monday afternoon, working alongside other departments they're not familiar with in unfamiliar territory.

"It's a pretty dire situation," McIntyre said. "As the wind picks up the temperature rises and humidity drops, more of these flare ups are kind of stretching us thin."

"It's extremely dangerous," Kuykendall said. "It's in terrain we haven't seen and we're not familiar with. Different tactics, we had to do things quite a bit differently than we do here at home."

"Thoughts and prayers," McIntyre said. "We all need it."

The Bryan County strike team said they're staying out there until Thursday and more Bryan County firefighters might be on their way to help on Wednesday.

Forecasters said because of low humidity and high winds, conditions Tuesday will be the worst seen in the past decade.



 
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