Hundreds of acres lie charred after a grassfire Thursday afternoon shut down more than a mile of U.S. Highway 60 as crews battled flames a mile west of Osage Hills State Park.
“It was actually close to the park, the closest a fire has recently gotten to the park,” Nick Conner, the acting park ranger at Osage Hills Stat Park, told 2NEWS on Monday.
Osage County Rural Fire Fighters Chief Jerry Harris agreed, saying the fire which in the end burned nearly 325 acres at one point burned only a half-mile away from the state park.
“It was pretty close,” he said, saying crews from his fire department as well as three others beginning around 2 p.m. that day fought the blaze for more than eight hours. During that time, traffic on U.S. Highway 60 was rerouted onto county roads as smoke drifted over the highway reducing visibility and as crews worked from the road to bring the fire under control.
Harris told 2NEWS the fire started from a bushhog striking a stone as a landowner was clearing trails that day.
“It sparked and set the grass on fire,” he said.
Harris said the fact a fire of that size was started by a spark just shows how volatile the area is due to recent dryness.
“Everybody here is sitting on pins and needles cause it's so dry,” he said. “We haven't gotten near the rainfall (they) have in Tulsa. I can't remember the last time it rained.”
Harris told 2NEWS the fire resulted in no injuries, nor did it cause damage to either structures or equipment.
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Bartlesville Regional United Way recently announced the results of United Way’s annual report for 2011.