Grassfire Threat High on Sunday

1-8-06 - OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - As fire crews are being sent across the state to monitor wildfire hot spots, the governor is asking Oklahomans to pray for rain.

Fire crews from North Carolina were sent this morning to an area just north of Coalgate to help tame a wildfire that has already charred about 900 acres since last night.

Statewide, grass fires have killed two people, scorched more than 363-thousand acres and destroyed more than 220 homes and businesses since November first.

Governor Brad Henry issued an executive proclamation last week declaring today a statewide Day of Prayer.

The governor is asking Oklahomans to pray for victims and their loved ones, firefighters, first responders and rain.

About 200 out-of-state firefighters and support personnel have arrived in Oklahoma within the past week to help fire crews battle grass fires across the state.

North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee have sent 60 firefighters, 12 fire pumpers and 14 bulldozers. Florida is planning to send up to six support workers.

In addition, the U-S Bureau of Indian Affairs has sent 170 firefighters and other workers.

BIA officials say about 60 are from Oklahoma firefighting units. The rest are from out of state.

Governor Brad Henry says it appears Oklahoma has enough out-of-state firefighters to handle the state's present wildfire crisis.

However, if drought persists past the middle of the month, more help may be needed.

Firefighters across the state brace for more wildfires, while weather officials declare that only a significant amount of rain will halt the outbreaks. Additional fire crews have been sent to Shawnee, Stillwater, Bartlesville, Ada and Ardmore to prepare for possible grassfires.

Fire crews in Oklahoma City have geared up with nine extra brush pumpers.

Firefighters in northern Coal County battled a fire that started at Pine and Legal Roads Saturday. The fire moved north toward Calvin, Oklahoma. However, firefighters say no structures were threatened or lost in the blaze.

A fire in Cooke County Saturday afternoon burned more than five acres of land and came within a few feet of destroying a home. It started after someone violated the burn ban by using a cutting tool on metal.

The fire spread quickly, but firefighters from Gainesville, Lake Kiowa, Oak Ridge and Valley View were able to contain it within an hour.


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