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Fire burns around 2,000 acres

A wildfire burns at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday south of state Highway 123 in extreme eastern Osage County near the Hughes Ranch.
A wildfire burns at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday south of state Highway 123 in extreme eastern Osage County near the Hughes Ranch.
Steve Childress works at the Ochelata Fire Department in Ochelata around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The OFD, along with several other departments battled a major grass fire west of Ochelata. Weather conditions were ripe for wildfires in northeast Oklahoma. Becky Burch/Examiner-Enterprise
Steve Childress works at the Ochelata Fire Department in Ochelata around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The OFD, along with several other departments battled a major grass fire west of Ochelata. Weather conditions were ripe for wildfires in northeast Oklahoma. Becky Burch/Examiner-Enterprise

Occupants of several homes in rural Osage and Washington counties were reportedly advised by authorities to evacuate as a precautionary measure while multiple fire agencies battled a large grass fire along the county line Monday afternoon.

The fire burned around 2,000 acres, according to Washington County Emergency Management Director Kary Cox.

“The Washington County Fire Department, Ochelata, Osage Hills, Barnsdall Rural, Pershing, Skiatook, Oglesby, Ramona and Avant all had trucks on scene, along with a canteen unit from Owens and support units from Emergency Management,” he said. “The Bureau of Indian Affairs also sent several trucks. This was a very fast moving and dangerous fire and everyone worked together for a successful end.”

The initial caller to report the fire advised it was at Road 2600 and Road 3930 near the Osage and Washington county line, but Cox said the fire was actually west of that location.

He said crews divided the fire into two “commands” — a west and an east side.

“It got so large that we had to divide it,” he said, noting the fire was considered contained around 5 p.m. “We had control lines all around the fire.”

He said control lines refer to areas dug or burned out by authorities ahead of the fire so that when the fire reaches them, it has no place to go.

“We left a couple of crews out there throughout the evening watching it,” he said. “I’m not aware of any injuries and, although we had one report of a barn that caught fire, no houses were lost.”

Currently, authorities do not know the cause of the fire or the time it started.

“We think it may have been power lines that the wind was slapping together,” he said.

Cox also said that while there is no burn ban currently in place, conditions making grass fires a danger will continue.

“The conditions will continue to the next week, but the next days are the worst,” he said, noting the high winds and warm temperatures increase the fire danger. “Use extreme caution and always make sure that you have sufficient resources to extinguish any fire and keep it under control.”

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