The Kingfisher County Wildland Fire Task Force connects the fire departments from Kingfisher, Hennessey, Okarche, Dover, Big 4, Omega, and Cashion to support each other if a neighboring county needs assistance. The Kingfisher Wildland Fire Task Force provides backup when a jurisdiction is affected by a devastating wildland fire and all of its resources have been exhausted or may not be sufficient to contain the flames. This ensures that no single county or area has to deploy all its assets for firefighting. Although these fire departments have helped each other in the past, the task force provides an organized approach to the efforts.
When a catastrophic fire takes place in a neighboring community, Ryan Deatherage, the task force coordinator, Kingfisher County 911 Director, and Deputy Director of emergency management, calls for the Kingfisher County Fire Task Force to assemble and determine the necessary resources and personnel that should be dispatched. This way, they can help out while still keeping some supplies in reserve should they need to use them at home.
Fire departments lend a helping hand to other jurisdictions knowing that if they ever need help, the favor will be repaid. When the fire departments help with a fire that meets the guidelines established by FEMA, they can be eligible for reimbursement from the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) Program. Other than the possible funding from FEMA, there is no financial gain that comes with being part of the task force.
On April 1st, the Kingfisher County Wildland Fire Task Force sent a team out to the Simpson Road fire in Logan County in response to an ongoing fire. This was their first assignment since the task force had been reorganized. Later, on April 4th, another group was dispatched to Longdale to provide additional assistance to other departments including Dewey, Grant, Lincoln, and Woods counties, as well as Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Fire Management & Prevention, Alfalfa County Task Force, Major County Task Force, Oklahoma Forestry Services, Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Canton-Longdale Ambulance Service, and Major County EMS.
If you would like to support your local fire department, they are always accepting donations of bottled water, sports drinks, snacks, etc.
Photos from Kingfisher County Emergency Management and Firefighter Ty Gardner.