ROGER MILLS COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Emergency crews say the biggest issues now are containment and helping the community handle whatever comes next.

High winds and high temperatures led to thousands of acres ablaze Tuesday, following the Berlin Road Fire that quickly tore through Roger Mills County in western Oklahoma.

Crews from the Oklahoma Forestry Service, local fire departments, other county resources responded to knock down the fire and focus on containment. The National Guard Black Hawks dropped more than 50,000 gallons of water to help with problem areas.

An update from the Forestry Service after 5 p.m. Wednesday noted that the blaze was mapped at 3,776 acres and is now 50% contained as result of the multi-agency effort.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 1,600 firefighters and additional support personnel had been assigned to “uncontained large fires” in the Southwest region of the country in recent days.

JD Moore who serves as Forest Ranger Crew Chief for Oklahoma Forestry Services said the agency has seen an increase in wildfire activity, making it increasingly difficult to adequately respond to high to extreme fire danger in fire prone areas.

OK Forestry Service’s JD Moore radioing other responders
OK Forestry Service’s JD Moore radioing other responders

“Every day is a fire day and we’re not getting any relief; we’re looking at a long haul in front of us without any moisture,” he said citing dry weather conditions and a lack of rain.

“This drought and these fuel (defined as anything that can burn in a fire, including grass, trees, and shrubs) situations have been building since last fall,” said Andy James, the Fire Management Chief for OK Forestry Services, adding that responders have flown to numerous fires in the last couple of weeks in Roger Mills County, and as far as the panhandle.

“Even on marginal days, the potential for fire damage is there,” he added.

Officials said they believed the fire had been contained enough to release additional crews and fire resources who’d been deployed to help with the blaze.

OFS and county resources said the fire threat remains high in some areas, and resources would continue monitoring the blaze through the evening before returning Thursday morning to continue monitoring impact in the community, while creating additional containment lines if needed.

“The smoke was so thick you couldn’t see anything,” said Kim Seymour, describing the fire threat coming near the homestead in Sayre she shares with her husband, Billy.

(l to r) Kim and Billy Seymour describing the fire threat near their property
Kim and Billy Seymour describing the fire threat near their property

Firefighters worked throughout the evening Tuesday to knock down the blaze and secure the areas surrounding their property, which included farmland and a vacant lot.

“If it wasn’t for the fire department coming around and keep this fire from getting up to the house, we would have lost it all,” added her husband, Bill Seymour.