The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) deployed two bulldozer strike teams and one Strike Team Leader to Oklahoma, where they will assist state and federal partners with wildfire suppression efforts. Five MFC Wildland Firefighters arrived in Weatherford, Oklahoma and their names will be released upon their safe return home to Mississippi in approximately two weeks.
“We appreciate our employees taking part in these efforts to help our state and federal partners in Oklahoma. Fighting the destructive power of wildfire means that our Wildland Firefighters are working in extreme conditions protecting people’s lives, homes, and forestland,” said Charlie Morgan, State Forester. “We are proud of their service and look forward to their safe return home in approximately two weeks.”
The Oklahoma Forestry Services reports that the “Rhea” wildfire has burned approximately 245,000 acres at this time with three percent of that contained in the panhandle of Oklahoma.
MFC Fire Chief Randy Giachelli said that the fire is covering roughly 350 square miles of fire.
“If you can imagine 350 square miles of fire it would be Rankin County on fire,” Giachelli said. “Not just 100 acres of Rankin County, but the whole County. Can you imagine evacuating Rankin County? I sure can’t. It’s burning so much grassland and graze land, it is burning over cattle which is their livelihood. Residents are having to gather their belongings and get out of the way of the fire.”
Giachelli added that they are going to keep sending crews out until they can get a handle on the blaze.