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August 3, 2012

Stephens County Fire Task Force mobilizes for Fort Cobb fire

Area firefighters to battle Oklahoma grassland wildfires, second time in 24 hours

DUNCAN — Stephens County Fire Task Force was mobilized for the second time in less than 24 hours to assist on growing wildland fires in Oklahoma.

At 3:45 p.m. today, firefighters from every department in Stephens County, both paid and volunteer, gathered at the Lawton/Duncan Y for a briefing before heading to Fort Cobb.

Many of those firefighters had been out until 3:30 a.m. after being dispatched to a fire near Hastings, around the Cotton County and Jefferson County area. They had left around 7 p.m. Thursday to provide mutual aid in that fire.

Velma firefighter Monty Tadlock served as Incident Command coordinator for the Thursday fire. He said today that it was 100 percent contained when they left. It consumed more than 2,500 acres over a six-mile by two-mile section.

Tadlock said he was going to the Fort Cobb fire only as a firefighter. He said seven brush trucks and two water tankers were going. Also the Stephens County Communications dispatch unit that is operated by Duncan Police was going.

Duncan Deputy Fire Chief Dayton Burnside said at 3 p.m. today that Ryan Hall, fire chief for Marlow, would serve as IC for the task force at Fort Cobb. Burnside said he was enroute to that fire, but it would be later tonight.

“I’m on the Norman incident. There are three big fires in the state today. It’s real dangerous,” he said.

More than 55 counties have declared burn bans and anyone in violation of that order will get a visit from their local law enforcement.

The combination of dry grasslands, combined with the wind, make wildfire conditions favorable. Firefighters are encouraging people to take extra precautions outdoors and avoid using anything that could cause a spark.

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