GUTHRIE, Okla. - A grass fire burned more than 40 acres of airport property Wednesday, flames at one point jumping the roadway after being fanned along by strong southerly winds.
Fire crews were called to the east side of Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport shortly before 3:30 p.m. for a report of a grass fire. It's unclear what sparked the blaze.
Most of the fire burning dry and dormant grasses within the airport fence line. Firefighters also set intentional fires upwind to burn off the fuel, heading off the flames.
"The fire burns more intense as it goes uphill, it gets that wind behind it, really blows up the hill, so as it comes up here on Industrial (Road), it gets fairly intense and drops off here to the south," said Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow. "So as it burns uphill to us, it's been pretty intense as we've sat out here and tried to combat it. So we're kind of burning out the edge of the roadway here so when the fire does get up to the fence line it doesn’t leave anywhere to go, it has all that fuel already burned up and out of the way."
However, at one point, the fire did jump the roadway on the northernmost edge of the fire. Brush pumpers were able to snuff out the flames, however Harlow said the heavy vehicles had a difficult time in the wet, soft ground. An ATV was brought in so fire fighters could quickly cover the land that sloped down towards a creek bed within the airport property, setting grasses on fire and dousing the edges with water.
The burning index was high for much of the state Wednesday. With spring and warmer temperatures likely some time away, fire season means no time to sit back for fire crews.
"We were hoping for a very small, abbreviated fire season this year," said Harlow. "We're hoping for a quick warm-up in the next month or so. Time will tell."