Over 400 acres burned Monday afternoon on Sallisaw’s northwest side.
Sallisaw Fire Chief Anthony Armstrong said no injuries were reported and no structures were lost due to the fire, although four homes and about five barns were threatened by the wildfire.
Armstrong said it is believed that a semi-truck traveling on County Highway 17 from Marble City may have sparked the fire with a flat tire.
The Sallisaw Fire Department was dispatched at 11:50 a.m. and was on the scene until about 4:30 p.m. At one point the wildfire was growing so fast that all available grass rigs and pumpers were called to assist. Assisting Sallisaw were the fire departments from Marble City, Brushy, Central, Brent, McKey, and Forestry.
Sallisaw Fire Department had 12 firefighters at the scene with three grass rigs and two pumper trucks.
Armstrong said he did not know how many firefighters and equipment responded from the other fire departments.
The fire burned from Highway 17 to McCoy Ford Road and back to J.T. Stites Road, he said. Residents of the area were not asked to evacuate their homes by the fire department, he said.
Armstrong said, “We did keep the civilians out of the fields because we didn’t want to have to worry about them while we attacked the fire.
“The residents along Stites road were out with their water hoses watering their lawns,” Armstrong said. “That helped a lot.”
Armstrong said, “It was just like the perfect fire storm. It was just so wild at first. The wind came blowing across that field of knee-high sage brush so fast.”
And, because there were no injuries and no losses, Armstrong said, “It was a good day.”
Monday’s fire was one of three blazes fought over the weekend, Armstrong said. Marble City and Brushy firefighters fought a blaze on Jackson Mountain, north of Marble City, on Monday until called to the Sallisaw fire. Over the weekend, a wildfire at Low Gap, north of Sallisaw on U.S. Highway 59, had to be doused by helicopters that flew in with water due to the inaccessibility of the area.
Armstrong reminded residents the area is still under a burn ban issued by the governor, in spite of rain Monday night and Tuesday.
He said, “About Thursday and Friday the sun will be out again and the wind will start blowing again.”
And the danger of wildfire blazes will continue.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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