VFDs and LPD Ask Lawton Citizens to Stop Chasing Wildfires!
This past weekend several wildfires broke out in and around Lawton, Fort Sill. Volunteer Fire Departments from Comanche and surrounding Counties came together to battle the fires and help save lives and property. There was a large fire out East of town, they even had to evacuate residents in the Lasso Loop and 60th Street area. Fire crews and police lifted the evacuation order late yesterday evening around 9:00-pm.
I was heading home yesterday afternoon around the time firefighters and police were working on putting it out. I came down Bishop Road and was turned around by the Lawton Police Department. I hadn't heard the news yet, I could see the smoke and smell the fire but had no idea that it was that close. I told the officer I lived in the neighborhood nearby and he let me pull through so I could turn around and go the back way.
The officer told me that several people had blocked roads and emergency vehicles were having trouble getting to the site because of all the traffic and sightseers. I guess I looked confused and he told me a lot of people were trying to get close for pictures, video, and just to see what was going on. He explained that it was a real problem and that 'fire chasers' were getting in the way of emergency crews. How crazy is that?
I guess it's human nature to want to see what's going on, but with so many people doing that it can become dangerous really quick. The firefighters and police have asked that you not go looking for the fires when they happen. You could be getting in the way of first responders and emergency vehicles. It's not only dangerous for you but for those fighting the fire as well. A few days ago a firefighter was struck by a car that was driving through the smoke and couldn't see him. There's no need to risk your life or the lives of others.
So if you hear about a wildfire or see smoke don't go chasing after it. The last thing you want to do is get in the way of firefighters and police who are trying to saves lives and property. I was amazed at how many cars were on the sides of the road and the crowds of people standing around trying to get a closer look or picture. Imagine living in the area and trying to evacuate or get to your home to take care of pets or livestock and can't get there because of all the traffic and people wanting to get a pic or video for Facebook or Twitter.
A BIG THANKS to all of our volunteer fire departments for all they've done and continue to do for us, we really appreciate each and every one of you. Hopefully, with the recent rains, things will improve and we won't be seeing more wildfires in the area for a while. It's been a crazy couple of months and we've had a record number of fires lately. We also need to thank the Lawton Police Department and Comanche Country Sherrif's Department for all their help as well along with anyone else whos been lending a hand with the fires.