Friday, March 24, 2017

Wildfire Sweeps Through Rural Cemetery

 Northview Cemetery

Burned pasture land north of Sallisaw

Many Sequoyah County residents breathed a sigh of relief Friday morning as rain began to fall across the area. Dry and windy conditions have contributed to a number of fires that have threatened homes and property in the past week.

According to the Oklahoma Forestry Service more than 1,300 acres have burned due to 10 different wildfires in the county since Monday. Gary Williams, Area Forester for the Northeast Area, commented that his heart went out to all the volunteer fire fighters that have worked to hard to extinguish the fires alongside the Forestry Dept. "These guys deserve to be commended. The fires would have gotten much bigger with much more damage if it wasn't for them," stated Williams. 

Several of this week's fires were located north of Sallisaw in the Rocky Point area. On Thursday several volunteer fire departments including Rocky Point, Marble City, Brushy, Central, Maple,and  Nicut along with the Sallisaw Fire Dept. and the Oklahoma Forestry Services battled to extinguish fires and save homes in the Northview Cemetery area of Rocky Point. Fire came within feet of one home just southwest of the cemetery. 

The fire couldn't be stopped from entering the cemetery though burning grass and memorial flowers as it went. No permanent damage appeared to be done but some headstones will need cleaning to remove smoke and soot.

Bill Poindexter, cemetery caretaker, stated that he will be at the cemetery Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. to begin the clean up process and would welcome any help. He also stated that he wanted to give a "great big thank you" to the area firefighters. "These guys have practically lived on the fire lines for the past week. Gentlemen, my hat is off to you," he added.

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