Yukon area grass fire scorches 35 acres

No structures damaged, no one injured in Saturday blaze

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Oklahoma City firefighter Reece Gilbert walks toward a grass fire that threatened Christ's Legacy Church and area homes Saturday afternoon near Northwest Expressway and Morgan Road. Oklahoma City Fire Department, with an assistant from Piedmont and Richland fire departments, averted property damage and injuries. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)

By Traci Chapman
Managing Editor

A March 5 fire in north Yukon singed about 35 acres but did not cause any injuries or damage any structures as the fast-moving blaze raced across an extended swatch of grass land.

Capt. Scott Douglas of Oklahoma City Fire Department said the Saturday blaze was first reported about 1:53 p.m. and began near Northwest Expressway and North Morgan Road. To counter the fire – one of 15 the department fought across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area Saturday – 23 vehicles responded to the scene.

Among them were firefighters from Piedmont and Richland fire departments, Douglas said.

When firefighters first responded to the scene, one home was perceived to potentially be under threat – and that became the first line of defense, according to an incident report authored by OKCFD Battalion Chief Greg Merrell.

Once flames were pushed back from that area, crews worked to ensure the fire did not jump Morgan Road. Had that occurred, Christ’s Legacy Church, located in the 11100 block of North Morgan Road, would have been threatened, as well as potentially a large neighborhood, the report said.

In fact, Christ’s Legacy became a water replenishment site for trucks battling the blaze, Douglas said.

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Despite some precipitation in the days leading up to Saturday’s rash of grass fires, it was not enough to thoroughly soak and negate months of negligible precipitation, officials said. Saturday was particularly concerning because humidity dropped so dramatically between early morning and early afternoon, Capt. Andy Willrath of Mustang Fire Department said Monday.

“Humidity was about 50% in the morning and then down to about 10% after noon – and that grass is so dry, so dormant, it’s just a bad combination,” he said. “When you throw in winds gusting up to about 30 miles an hour it is a very hazardous situation.”

Mustang responded to four grass fires Saturday, Willrath said.

Piedmont Fire Department’s assist to Oklahoma City was the only grass fire call first responders there went out on Saturday, Capt. Tyler Moffett said Tuesday.

Oklahoma City officials said all 15 fires they encountered Saturday were especially fast-moving and included an incident near the 9800-10200 blocks of Northwest Expressway.

Canadian County Commissioners did not re-institute a burn ban for the county Monday; according to Oklahoma Forestry Service, of the counties adjoining Canadian County, only Cleveland and Kingfisher counties do not have bans in place; Oklahoma, Grady, Caddo and Blaine had restrictions in place as of Monday evening.

According to the National Weather Service in Norman, some snow is possible Thursday and Friday. According to Oklahoma Climatological Survey, in the last 30 days Yukon has had 1.39 inches of precipitation.

“Elevated fire weather conditions are expected across western Oklahoma and western north Texas Wednesday and again next weekend,” NWS stated in a March 8 hazardous weather outlook that included Canadian County.

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