High winds, fires keep firefighters busy as possible rain days away

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Gusting winds sparked a number of grass fires, keeping fire crews and homeowners on edge.

Nearly the entire state under a red flag warning until Tuesday evening, as warm temperatures and low humidity bred critical fire conditions in 76 of the state's 77 counties.

A number of Oklahoma City fire crews, kept busy Tuesday, to get the flames under control. However, with strong winds expected to continue through the night and into Wednesday morning, forecasts put precipitation days away.

Several buildings were a total loss on the city's far southwest side Tuesday evening.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department was called to a fire in the 2500 block of Spring Valley Dr., near SW 15th and S. Czech Hall Rd., at about 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. Officials say the call originally came in as a grass fire, but then realized a trailer fire sparked the blaze.

"It got in to an out building, and then, with this northerly wind, heading south, 30-40 mph gusts, it just took off running," said Battalion Chief Cathy Hayes.

"A structure fire that turned in to a grass fire, that threatened several homes to the south. We had 18 companies on scene to help extinguish that fire and get a good knockdown on that grass fire."

Hayes said the grass fire traveled southward, underneath high-tension power lines nearby.

"You can see how the grass fire went behind this building and then it ran along the high lines and it just shot south," she said.

One trailer home was a total loss, along with an out building. The fire also damaged a neighboring trailer, however fire crews were able to put out the blaze. No one was injured.

“It is difficult, especially with a situation like this. You have a structure fire. Usually, we can contain it to just that area, but with this wind – and in this neighborhood – you have high grass in certain places and with that wind, it just takes off running."

A fact evidenced by several hotspots elsewhere in the metro and northern Oklahoma.

Several grass fires north of Enid Tuesday afternoon sent smoke billowing into the sky.

Back near the metro, a grass fire near NW 178th and MacArthur sent several empty fireworks stands up in flames.

While winds are forecasted to die down by Wednesday morning, the fire danger for the state is likely to remain high, at least until things start to green up.

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