Firefighters battling heat as well as wildfire in northeast Oklahoma City

Crews from across Oklahoma have pitched in to fight a northeast Oklahoma City wildfire that raged for a third straight day Thursday.
BY BRYAN DEAN and ROBERT MEDLEY Published: September 2, 2011

Firefighters from across the state reinforced efforts Thursday to fight a wildfire in northeast Oklahoma City that has raged for three days.

Oklahoma City Fire Department officials said they are rotating crews to keep firefighters as fresh as possible as temperatures have reached triple digits every day since the fire started Tuesday.

Oklahoma County Emergency Manager David Barnes said the combination of heat from high temperatures and the fire can wear down firefighters quickly.

“Probably the biggest impact we have right now, apart from the obvious property damage, is going to be the toll it's taken on our available resources,” Barnes said. “Having to spend multiple days out in triple-digit heat and low humidity contributes to the fire danger, which is obvious, but it's also very difficult on crews.”

Oklahoma City fire Lt. Carey Parker said the heat is only one of the problems firefighters face.

“It's very difficult,” Parker said. “The access to the fire a lot of times is difficult. You also have a problem with water supply. Our brush pumpers only carry 300 gallons of water, and you run out of that fairly quickly.”

Brush pumpers are small firefighting vehicles often used to fight wildfires because they can access them more easily than large fire engines. When a brush pumper's tanks run dry, crews return to staging areas to refill them before heading back to where they are needed.



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