Mooreland Volunteer Fire Dept. Sees Large Fuel Bill After Wildfires
News 9 - August 1, 2022 6:16 am
State legislators said that no one was hurt in the wildfires in Blaine and Woodward counties in July, but there is work to be done to ensure that fire crews have the support they need.
Back-to-back wildfires have been keeping volunteer firefighters busy.
“Many of the same departments responded. They been answering the call for three weeks now.
Firefighters battled raging flames in Blaine County in mid-July. The Mooreland Volunteer Fire Department was called out to a wildfire a week later that spread to more than 20,000 acres over five days.
“Monday to Thursday, I was going on four and half hours of sleep. It’s kind of one of the hardest things you have to deal with,” Mooreland Volunteer Fire Chief Travis Case said.
The fire is out now. Chief Case said firefighters are exhausted along with their resources. They just finished repairing equipment and are facing a hefty fuel bill that they say is nearly eight times what they’re use to seeing.
“My fuel bill, not including my truck, just the fuel alone that I put in other trucks, is $16,000,” Chief Case said.
“They don’t get a lot of money. There is some money that comes in from the state of Oklahoma, there’s a little grant money available,” Matt Lehenbauer, Woodward County emergency management director said.
Chief Case said the city is taking care of the bill. State Representative Carl Newton said he’s been working to get more funding for volunteer firefighters for situations like this.
“I tried to add to the budget a million dollars to be set aside just for wildfires such as this right here. It did not get in the budget,” Rep. Newton said.
Newton said the state gave an additional 5,000 to each volunteer fire department. He says it’s a start, but he plans to push for more funding again in the next session.
“All of the strike teams that come, all of the dozers. Anything and everything. I don’t even know how to tell them thank you,” Chief Case said.
Lehenbauer said he’s working on getting a federal disaster declaration. He’s waiting to hear if it’s been approved.