The Woodward News

Local News

July 24, 2012

Firefighters continue to battle blaze

Woodward, Okla. — Throughout the day on Monday, firefighters from across the area continued to battle a fire in the southeast portion of Woodward County near Cedardale.

The fire started late Saturday afternoon and no structural damage has been reported said Matt Lehenbauer, Woodward emergency management director.

On Monday, Lehenbauer said the flames had burned through about 2,500 acres of land. The fire was brought under control each night but flare-ups during the day caused the fire to re-ignite

PROBLEMS FIREFIGHTERS ARE FACING

"There's so many trees out there, that's a big part of the problem," said Tommy Roedell, District 1 county commissioner. "As the wind comes up, it rekindles trees that are smoldering."

With leaves of the cedar trees easily ignited, fires were created downwind quite a bit, Roedell said.

Another problem firefighters face is the rough terrain in which they have to travel on to get to the main source of the problem - the trees. Roedell said equipment from all 3 districts in Woodward County, as well as equipment from Major and Ellis counties, is being used to help.

There are several dozers, blades and water trucks supplying water to fire trucks to assist the firefighters he said.

Not only is it difficult for firefighters to get to the hot spots, but the rough terrain is also causing equipment breakdowns Lehenbauer said.

"We're getting trucks repaired and in-service though," he said.

Other problems firefighters have been facing are lack of manpower and resources.

"One big issue we've had is the large fire in the Eagle City area out towards Oakwood," Lehenbauer said. "That's drawn some of our resources."

Lack of manpower also stems from most of the firefighters in the area being volunteers and having to return to work on Monday, the emergency manager said.

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