Wow Oh Wow, Statewide Plea for Help For Medicine Park

Okiedawn OK Zone 7June 24, 2011

It is possible this has occurred before and I don't remember it. In fact, it probably has happened, but this is the first time we've been "free and available" because usually we are at our own fires.

The government of Oklahoma has sent out a statewide request to every fire department in Oklahoma to send personnel and firetrucks to Medicine Park to help assist with the wildfire there.

Our department's chief is rounding up a crew to head that way. Usually we only send one truck because we can't leave our own fire district unprotected. Still if every department in Oklahoma that isn't fighting their own fires could send one truck with personnel, that surely would provide some assistance and relief for the local and undoubtedly exhausted firefighters. We're going to meet in town and travel west in a caravan. (I don't think I am part of the "we" because the chief's wife has to be home to hold down the fort, but I need to leave now to go pack food, drinks, towels, etc.)

I just wanted to share this info because it is another "sign" of what is turning into a miserably hot and dangerous drought and summer.

One thing that I do know is that when anyone in Oklahoma sends out a plea for assistance, our fellow Okies answer the call.

Please pray for all the firefighters in this particularly dangerous situation. In these weather conditions, the heat involved in fighting a fire like this can be deadly.

I'll be back after I pack up some drinks and food for my guys.


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Prayers and thoughts from AZ. Please keep me posted. That little corner is very dear to my heart. I built that little log home on the hill above the crossroads of hwys 49/58 and 4 mile road and did all the finishing of the inside, staining, everything by hand. All those hundreds of trees that I planted, if they burn down I will just be devastated.
If you or anyone you know gets word that that place is safe or that it burns ( you can't miss the log home with a green metal roof and two tall barns on the hill there), please let me know. Prayers are with all those families. The nextdoor neighbors there, I think the husband may be deployed as a civilian to Iraq. He's retired Army, so, if he's not there that family may need a lot of help getting their horses and animals to safety.
There is so much wildlife around there, too, because of the refuge. The elk herd, buffalo, deer and some very rare species of birds, butterflies and plants.
I can just hardly imagine this.
The historical buildings in Medicine Park. If you've never been there, it is such a charming old town with little cobblestone buildings. At least the rocks won't burn, I believe they've had to restore the wood part of the structures before but it would still be such a tragedy. It's not a wealthy town, either. Quite a lot of older, retired folks live in small homes in the middle of town.
My best prayers are going out to Medicine Park today..

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 6:30PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


The task force trucks from our county met in Marietta at 6 p.m. and were going to caravan west together from there. I suspect by the time everyone fueled up and got rolling it was somewhat later than 6 p.m. and they'll likely not reach Medicine Park until it is almost dark. If they are there all night, I'll text them tomorrow a.m. and try to get them to check for the log cabin at 4 mile road if they are in that sector.

I'm scheduled to go with a different crew on Sunday if the fire continues to burn and if the need for additional personnel exists. So, if I make it over to Medicine Park on Sunday, I'll make it my personal mission to get close enough to the log cabin to check on it.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 7:48PM
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Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate it. I haven't seen it since I picked up my stuff in 2006.
I suspect that fire in 2005 killed a lot of excess cedar and oak trees, which I'm sure is a really good thing. The field between the fire break on Ft. Sill and the road can get really thick with tall grass. There used to be a lot of small trees on Mt Scott but those were all burned in 2005. Those cedar trees can sure be wicked fire bombs!
I used to lease that entire corner of hwys 58/49/4mile road to graze my longhorns. I had a twenty year old wild cow of the Wichita Range. One time, a welder was fixing a gate and started the grass on fire in that pasture. My old cow ran across the pasture and leaped a 6 foot steel fence panel to get to green grass and safety. Those wild refuge animals of the Wichita Refuge have some serious respect for wildfires! She didn't get to be an old wise cow by being stupid!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:23PM
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I just read a news update that said the fire crossed highway 58 and is head north and east. I hope the news is wrong, if not, my old house and all those homes in that section could be lost so quickly.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tracy, I texted your description of the house to one of our firefighters and he's going to see what he can find out, although it may be tomorrow because he can't see much but flames in the darkness now. He said that firefighters from all over responded to the request for mutual aid so the locals are getting some help, and hopefully some badly needed rest. Our firefighters are at the staging area now waiting to rotate in and relieve another crew and say that fire is everywhere in the area where they are, so try to prepare yourself for bad news in case that's the kind of news we get back from them. We may not hear from them until tomorrow, especially if their cell phone batteries die, but they promised to look for your former home and neighborhood tomorrow in the daylight.

One of our FFs looked at a map of the fire and guesstimated the burned area as roughly 12 miles x 18 miles but that doesn't mean the entire area burned---you know how wildfires often roam around and jump and often there's unburned areas surrounded by burned areas. Hopefully they'll have good news for you tomorrow.

Our Love County firefighters ran into some firefighters they knew from Ringling in Jefferson County and those guys had been on the fireline in Medicine Park for 12 hours and were pretty tired. It sounds like they have been fighting that fire as hard as they can in very difficult conditions.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:40PM
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Tracy & Dawn - I'm so heartened to know that someone else besides me is distraught about this fire. My family has camped in this area a LOT over the last few years and it has become our "sanctuary" away from the big city...even though I live rural. I've been watching it since it got "hard to handle" on Thursday morning and felt I had to sit helpless and watch. I'm just horribly upset for the damage it has and is doing to the refuge, the animals and possibly (if not probably) to Medicine Park. I may just be rambling...but seriously, I'm really upset.

Dawn - I can carve out some time to go check on the cabins at "hwys 49/58 and 4 mile road" if you don't or can't make it on Sunday. I suspect a few of us are going to feel compelled to head that direction anyway. Like Tracy said, Medicine Park is such a beautiful, quaint reminder of our history. I'm really tired tonite or I would go into further detail of the times we've spent there and how wonderful of a place it is, but somehow - I think that anyone would understand and know. (I remember, Dawn, the stories you told me of DS's scout trips there!) I too thought that the cobble rock won't burn..but the other devistation will be horrible.

This is truly a horrible Spring/Summer. First all the gardening challenges due to swings in temps..then the hail storms here in Norman...and now this fire. (sigh....) We've just got to somehow hold on to hope that springs eternal with each season change.


P.S. - News is on now. Going to go get the latest updates. McLoud (not far from me) is of concern too. Hopefully, they'll get it under control soon.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:03PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


All they keep texting me is that fire is "everywhere" all around them there at the staging area. Oh, and also the very important news that the folks from the Southern Baptist Convention are feeding them dinner right now, including cupcakes! Our FFs are happy campers. Give 'em a little food and some cold water and they'll fight fire all night after having worked their regular jobs all day.

Paula, I'll let you know if we go on Sunday, or if our FFs find out something tomorrow. I remember how much you love the Wichita Mountains. I think we all do. When we are up on Mt. Scott, I think it is the grandest view in Oklahoma....and I can't bear to think of all the damage from the fire. We all need to remember, though, that Mother Nature relies on fire for "renewal" and often, once the rains return, the native vegetation returns very quickly and often better than before because invasive non-natives have been removed by the fire. Let's try to think of this as a good thing for the countryside, if not for the wildlife.

Thanks for the update on McLoud. I hadn't heard much on that one the last few hours. There also was a huge fire near Camargo in western OK, but I haven't seen it even mentioned on the news down here. There's a persistent grass fire near Ratliff City in Carter County but there's plenty of firefighters there and no homes are threatened, and none have been destroyed.

This is a horrible year for gardeners, isn't it? What else can possibly happen? Maybe we don't want to know!!!!!


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:27PM
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Thanks, Dawn. That's really great of you. I hope the people in the houses surrounding there are ok. I was pretty close to the family next door. We were stationed at Ft. Lewis together, then both were transferred to Ft. Sill and they purchased ten acres from us and actually stayed with us for almost a year while building their home. I lost touch with them during my ugly divorce.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:49PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I received a text message during the night that said the fire is east of the intersection so they thought your former home probably was safe. They fought fire until sometime after 5 a.m. and are headed home now, so maybe I'll learn something more when they arrive home in a couple of hours. Infortunately they were not near that intersection again after they were sent out to fight fire, but wherever they were, they said they saved two homes from fire. It is such a small thing to do, but great for those two families. In one case, when they arrived, the fence was on fire but they saved the house. In another case a tree was on fire near a house but they extinguised the tree before the fire could spread to the house.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 8:00AM
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My thoughts and prayers are involved with everyone affected and fighting these fires. Which will continue until rain falls. Like Dawn said fires often help especially if moisture isn't too long in coming. The problem here is the wind continues to blow and without moisture nothing to hold the soil so big blowout now. Jay

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 8:17AM
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Can you ask if it's east of 58 or if it's east of 4 mile road? There is a 360 acre section between those two roads and TackleBox, where they set-up the command center. That is where my house and the other houses I'm concerned about are.
I have a friend who lives part-time in Lawton, part-time in Houston and I'll see if she can have someone take a drive by when things settle down.
Thanks so much Dawn. And, please, thnk your husband and his fellow firefighters, as well. What a hot, horrible job they have.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 9:12AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Actually, all my DH did was phone a few of our firefighters and ask "do you want to go". In fact, more wanted to go than he needed but we couldn't let them all go and leave our area unprotected, so three firefighters went, and others were sort of penciled in to go today or tomorrow if needed. Apparently, unless something happens, they won't be needed. Fire containment was estimated at 40% yesterday afternoon, and our guys who just came back said it now is at about 80-85% containment. Of course, with the way the wind is blowing, that could change.

Our DS took a day off from his professional firefighting job to go fight the Medicine Park fire as a volunteer firefighter, and the other two guys either had just gotten off work or took off from work to go. DH was going to go tomorrow if needed, but I don't think they need us to send anyone today or tomorrow, so he's really disappointed. (Once they get firefighting in their blood, they are obsessed with it and hate to miss a big fire.)

I have a correction on the fire location. The guys who just returned said 4 Mile Road is east of the fire area, and that the fire was west of 58 and west of 4 mile road. It was dark, and they said they couldn't see any houses in the dark so couldn't verify if the log cabin is still standing. It was still dark when they left to drive home. I hope this info is helpful.

You know, if the Lawton Constitution or one of the local TV stations has stories posted that have comment sections enabled, you might try posting a question in the comment section to see if a local resident will see it and respond to tell you for sure which area burnt and which didn't. Or, you might try Google Maps or even Sometimes they have more specific location information.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 11:20AM
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That's great news, Dawn. It sounds like it tracked exactly the same way that the fire in 2005 tracked. Highway 58 is a fairly large road so it makes a decent firebreak. If it had crossed there, though, it would have been tough to stop and if it crossed 4 mile road heading east there would have been a whole lot of homes at risk.
Those guys sound like a great bunch of guys. I'll have to meet them sometime!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 1:10PM
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