Emergency crews close highway in Harper County for grass fires, smoke

HARPER COUNTY, Okla. – Drivers in Harper County may need to find an alternate route as fire crews continue to battle a wildfire in the area.

On Tuesday morning, emergency crews closed U.S. 283 between the U.S. 64 junction and the Kansas state line.

Authorities say they were forced to close the highway due to grass fires.

Motorists are advised to find an alternate route and are cautioned to not drive into smoke.

Oklahoma Forestry Services has worked alongside local fire departments to suppress multiple wildfires over the past few weeks and anticipate continued fire danger this week.

“We are in a situation that can quickly become dangerous for the public and even firefighters due to the extreme fire weather conditions that can rapidly develop this time of the year,” said George Geissler, director, Oklahoma Forestry Services. “As we continue to see normal firefighting tactics proving less effective and more time consuming we ask that everyone be aware of these conditions and use extreme caution with anything that can spark a fire.”

The public is urged to call 911 to report any wildfire immediately, avoid the vicinity of wildfires and heed all evacuation notices.

Homeowners can also make their home more defensible by moving trash, debris and other flammable items like firewood piles or portable propane tanks a safe distance away from their home.