State Representative Reacts To Volunteer Fire Departments Costly Battles With Grass Fires

News 9 - April 18, 2022 7:12 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – 

Several grass fires raging through Western Oklahoma these past couple of weeks are keeping fire departments busy.

State Representative Mike Dobrinski covers several counties west of Oklahoma County. He said having so many fires back-to-back is concerning when it comes to making sure there are enough resources.

John Parrish with the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department said these past few weeks fires have been popping up nonstop.

“It seems like fires are every day. There have been days where there’s been like three fires in two days,” Parrish said.

Parrish said with high fire numbers comes a high cost for repairs, fuel, and anything else needed to fight raging flames. Many volunteer fire departments receive money from the county through sales tax and some funding from the state. State Representative Dobrinski said he’s working to get more help.

“They’re working on grants for our rural fire departments, secretary Arthur is working through the forestry division right now and rural fire coordinators to try and gather information from the local departments about their extraordinary cost right now,” Dobrinski said.

One of the extraordinary costs impacting firefighters right now is fuel. The fuel price between several fire departments cost over $15,000 for one fire in Roger Mills County.

“It is a crisis. It’s an emergency and although the governor hasn’t been able to convince the federal folks that we do have a disaster out here because that’s exactly what it is and it’s not going to get any better until the drought ends so we have to get our rural folks some help,” Dobrinski said.

Dobrinski said there is a state disaster fund set up to help agriculture producers and they’re looking into what other state and federal resources are available.

“The wheels turn pretty slow at the capitol when it comes to funding issues and things like that so we just need to make sure everyone is aware we’re working to a resolution,” Dobrinski said.

For immediate help, Dobrinski suggests donating to your local volunteer fire departments.

 

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