Summit County firefighters head to Oklahoma
With thousands of acres aflame in Texas and Oklahoma from wildfires this week, wildfire dispatchers are calling for reinforcements – and Summit County has provided a response. The Lake Dillon and Red, White and Blue fire districts each have sent three-member wildfire crews to the Ferguson Fire in Oklahoma, one of the several large fires burning in the Southwest. The Ferguson fire, which began Sept. 1, rages in southwestern Oklahoma, covering nearly 35,000 acres, or about 55 square miles, in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Comanche County.It has destroyed 11 residences and threatens 114 more so far, according to a report and wildfire satellite photo on Nasa.gov. It was roughly 30 percent contained as of Tuesday morning with the help of some 283 firefighters and various apparatus – including 31 engines and three helicopters working in rugged, steep terrain. Meanwhile, from Aug. 29 to today, local fire departments in Texas have fought 127 fires and the Texas Forest Service has battled 178 fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service Incident Information System. One fire, the Kennedy Road Fire in eastern Texas, began on Sept. 4 and measures 150 acres. In southern Texas, the Union Chapel, Bastrop County Complex, Delhi, Lutherhill and Bailey wildfires together produced the most smoke in NASA’s image. The fires were recently fanned by winds from nearby Tropical Storm Lee without the storm bringing rainfall. “With our neighbors experiencing extreme drought, these wildfires are overwhelming local resources, and we are glad to help them in their time of need,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Dave Parmley.Crews sent to Oklahoma include Lake Dillon Fire’s lieutenant/engine boss Jonathan Bradley, lieutenant Kevin Skaer and firefighter/paramedic Paul Lawrence in Wildland Engine 2. Red, White & Blue Fire sent captain/engine boss Derek Goossen, firefighter Clint Maas and firefighter Aaron Schlacter in Wildland Engine 609. Both apparatus are small, four-wheel-drive Type 6 engines capable of fighting fires in remote areas.
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