BY TATYANA NYBORG CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Within the last month and a half, approximately 11 fires occurred in the Mannford fire district. The largest fires were five miles east of Terlton (Pawnee County) and on 41st street in Mannford. During the Terlton fire, 3,320 acres burned, six homes and several barns were destroyed. The fire started on Feb. 18, and continued for two more days. The 41st street fire occurred two weeks prior to the Pawnee County fire. A more than 40 mile per hour wind shook power lines and produced sparks, resulting in the fire. Approximately 150 acres burned around the water plant area. Other fires during the period were smaller. City of Mannford Fire Chief, Bob Evans, volunteered for the Mannford fire department 42 years ago, and has been a Fire Chief for the last 18 years. Evans said that the City of Mannford had enough equipment and 19 volunteers to confront fires in the Mannford district. “We have good support from our firemen and the City of Mannford is very supportive of fire department,” he stated. “We also receive aid from other fire departments in Creek County, if it is needed,” Evans added. “For example, we got help from Basin and Freedom Hill departments during the fire on 41st street,” Evans continued. “Additionally, there are four rural fire departments in the surrounding area, which also respond to local fires, such as Basin, Silver City, Freedom Hill and Keystone departments,” he said. The Mannford Fire Chief stressed that the most common reasons for fires in the area are thrown cigarettes or outside burning done by individuals. “Some fires start a day after someone has done outside burning,” Evans explained. “The weather changes, for example, a strong wind comes, and it creates a dangerous situation stemming from the previous day’s outside burning.” The Fire Chief said the Oklahoma Forestry Department predicted that this spring will have the most fire danger for the last 10 years. On the question how to prevent fires, Evans replied strongly that residents need to notify the fire department about the date when they are planning an outside burning. Also, it is important to check the weather on the day of burning and the day after the planned burning. If a strong wind and dry weather conditions are predicted, it makes sense to delay the burning in order to prevent a disaster.