Fire burning on both sides of Red River

By: Mystic Matthews Email
By: Mystic Matthews Email

BOKCHITO, Okla. - The strong winds that whipped through Texoma all day Monday were still going strong Monday night, and the wind fueled several grassfires on both sides of the Red River.

One of those fires burning near the Arbuckles shut down Interstate 35 and at one point, also shut down U.S Highway 77 and burned hundreds of acres.

Another fire in Love County along Interstate 35 was contained, but shut down the southbound lanes for part of the evening.

It's one of at least three fires that were burning across Texoma Monday night.

A fire in Bokchito was also still burning Monday night, but authorities tell us that fire is under control.

Fire officials say these events are proof that when a red flag warning is issued, it's anything but routine.

We spoke with fire officials in Oklahoma and Texas today and although neither side of the river is under a burn ban, officials are urging everyone to use common sense.

Norman Campo, who is with the Bryan County Emergency Management teams says, "I would suggest not to burn anything, whether its a ban or not, because it's not going to take much to go."

On Monday afternoon, a man disking in his garden started a fire in Bokchito. It was under control, but still burning as of Monday night.

The man lost two barns, 2,000 bales of hay, and three vehicles. Campos says, “They were able to get here and save the house, but they were not able to save barn. They lost close to 20,000, but he still has a home and life, too.”

Campo says a fire spreading like this is not uncommon in this kind of weather. “We haven't been having rains here in last 3-5 years like normal. Still dry, regardless if you get an inch of rain tonight. In 30 minutes with winds 25-30 miles an hour, grass can be dry and the field be wet.”

Chief Jeff Jones and the Sherman Fire Department were also busy Monday afternoon with a grass fire in Denison.

In fact, the entire Grayson County Fire Task Force was activated because of the high fire danger. Jones says, “We've been watching since late Friday. Weather service predicted low humidity, high wind. Less then 35% humidity, 35 mile an hour wind gusts. Conditions are real high for bad fire today.”

Officials say a high fire danger can be deadly and warns everyone not to burn. Campos says, “You just have to take due caution and realize this grass is dead. It can go anytime, its just like gasoline.”

Fire fighters left the scene of the Bokchito fire about 9:00 p.m. Monday night, and at last check authorities say the nearby home is not in danger, as long as the wind cooperates.


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