String of fires wear on Jackson Co. departments

Posted at 11:46 PM, Apr 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-16 23:46:37-04

JACKSON CO, OK (KSWO) - Firefighters in Jackson County battled fires in the area for their fourth day straight and for some departments, their fifth day straight.

Firefighters battled a wildfire that broke out three miles west of Altus on highway 62 around 2:45 p.m. that threatened homes and barns.

Martha's acting fire chief Matthew Rone said the consecutive fires have taken a toll on his department.

"The chief is out right now,” Rone said. “He got smoke inhalation and took a fall Saturday afternoon in a fire in the town of Martha. The rest of my guys are tired and haven't been home for more than an hour or two. Maybe try to catch a nap and take a shower to wash their eyes out."

The fires that are burning a hundred or more acres aren't just taking a toll on firefighters but county workers too. Eric Mowbray, the Emergency Manager for Jackson County, said they've had county workers assist in stopping these fires.

"We've used graders, bulldozers, track hoes,” Mowbray said. “These are a great group of guys that work on our roads every day, and they know exactly what they're doing when cutting fire breaks."

Rone said it's hard to get any rest with the fire danger being so high.

"If you do go home, you don't sleep,” he explained. “You're waiting for the tone to drop, you're waiting for that next call to come out. You're always looking because you know there is a real good chance that it's going to happen again and you're thinking 'are my trucks ready? Am I going to have guys show up? Is Everybody going to be healthy? Are we going to be able to stop this?'"

Fire officials are urging residents to avoid dragging chains and throwing cigarettes out the window because that can easily spark a fire.

Copyright 2018 RNN Texoma. All Rights Reserved.