FORT SUPPLY, Okla. (KFOR) – An entire town was told to evacuate as a wall of fast-moving flames came dangerously close. Now, people in Fort Supply are breathing a sigh of relief, all thanks to the heroic firefighters who saved countless homes.
“I bet there was probably 150, 200 firefighters out here. Plus, county hands and just local farmers, ranchers bringing water,” said Buffalo Fire Chief Steve Wilson.
“It’s overwhelming because those guys put their lives up to save our, you know, livelihood,” said Jane Ricord, whose home was almost destroyed by the flames.
Forty different fire departments from neighboring counties and states homed in on a massive fire near Fort Supply Thursday afternoon. The destruction spanned about 2,000 acres.
“We got the call that the fire was coming and was real close to the house. We would probably lose it,” said Ricord.
Some of Ricord’s land was destroyed by the North Canadian fire. She was out of town when she got the call that her home was in the line of fire.
“I had a cousin that was here. He got on the skid steer. Kept the ground worked up, kept water going on the fire and stuff. And he pretty much stopped [the fire] right here,” she said.
Wilson said the big problems were the canyons and cedar trees.
“They’ll just explode and they can throw fire and ash for miles,” said Wilson.
The panhandle’s landscape is made of rocky terrain, which meant the firefighters had a hard time getting in to attack the flames. That’s why they had to attack the blaze from the sky.
Helicopters, provided by the forestry service, dumped 800 gallons onto the hot spots.
However, the canyons proved to be a curse and a blessing, by containing the fire and helping save the small town of Fort Supply, where residents were told to evacuate earlier in the day.
“If they did cross the canyon, we would have been in trouble,” said Wilson.
The fire was contained around 2:30 p.m., but Wilson said the story would’ve ended differently a decade ago.
“Ten years ago, this would have ran and ran and ran. We would have never caught it. But with the crews, with the equipment, with the support, we can stop it,” he said.
Ricord’s just thankful everyone is safe.
“Animals are all accounted for,” said Ricord. “If the rain comes, we’re going to have a green pasture.”
The fire chief said they will be out all night watching for hot spots. They’ll have to keep a close eye on the entire area for about a week.