Massive grassfire reaches Day 3 in Johnston Co.

By: Robin Beal Email
By: Robin Beal Email

JOHNSTON COUNTY, Okla. -- Dry conditions are creating a nightmare for volunteer firefighters in Johnston County, where a grassfire has been raging throughout the weekend. As Robin Beal reports, the location and the intense summer heat are making this a difficult blaze to battle.

You can hear the crunch of charred grass under foot. It is the result of a grassfire now three days in the making on three of the hottest days this summer, and that makes it even more difficult to fight.

"Well you can't last as long. You've got to switch out, about 2 or 3 hours is about all you can handle, you know, and then you've got to switch out with new crews," Curtis Parker with the Ravia Fire Department says.

At least six departments have been working to control the fire which started near Dickson on Friday evening, then spread east into Johnston County, burning well over 1,000 acres.

"It’s in remote country. It takes about an hour’s driving time just to get in to it. There's no straight through roads. It's all pasture, trails," Mike Eddings with the Mannsville Fire Department says.

In fact the area is so remote we were unable to get to the real flames in our SUV and had to be pushed out.

"[We are] pretty sure it was started by a company building a fence, welding on a fence in there. The soil conditions and the dryness of the grass has just deteriorated greatly in the past week," Parker said.

"Chesapeake Energy helped us out yesterday quite a bit with helicopter drops and the State Forestry Division is here now, so maybe we'll get this thing under contained," Eddings also said.

Crews are now working with bulldozers to try and contain the fire.


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