A fire in Marietta may have been set deliberately, tempting fate during a period of severe drought in the region.
Firefighters responded to a blaze after someone spotted smoke rising from a wooded area near Burlington Road and Greenville Road at roughly 2:15 p.m. on Saturday. Love County assistant emergency manager David Bond said they found an unoccupied, burning mobile home in the woods in the center of a fire that covered roughly nine acres before it was contained.
“We’re fairly certain someone dragged a mobile home back here and set it on fire,” Bond said. “The firefighters who live in this area think they know where it came from. We’ll try to identify that, and we’ll see.”
Bond said it’s illegal, but not unheard of, for someone to try to dispose of a mobile home in this manner. Signs leading to the site of the fire marked the area as private property, but Bond said they had yet to locate the owner.
“The laws have been changed in Oklahoma, they’re passing a lot of environmental laws and people just aren’t familiar with them,” said. “This was a way to get rid of [a mobile home]. A lot of the time, they’d call the fire
department and ask them to burn down the mobile home for training. Air quality regulations don’t allow this kind of burn anymore.
Greenville/Overbrook, Lake Murray Village and Criner Hills volunteer fire departments responded to the call, along with the Love County Sheriff’s Office and emergency management. The state Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the fire.
This was one of a string of fires in Carter and Love counties over the first half of the weekend. Two small fires were contained in the 200 block of East Highway 70 Friday. Ardmore firefighter Rhett Hale said the exact cause of the fire was unknown.
“On the roadway, there’s no telling,” Hale said. “We’re in very dry conditions right now, any type of spark can cause a fire.”
Carter County Commission Jerry Alvord said the county is not currently under a burn ban, but meets some of the criteria for one.
“Before we can take action, the state needs to deem the county in a ‘severe’ drought, we need to have 3 or less inches of rain forecasted in a period of three to five days, and 20 percent of fires must be caused by ‘escaped debris,’ like a campfire,” Alvord said.
All requirements must be met simultaneously for the county to enact a burn ban.
Alvord said Carter County reached “severe” drought status Thursday afternoon and a large portion of the recent fires have been caused by escaped debris. To enact a ban, the commission would need to meet with local emergency management and fire officials to reach a consensus.
“When one is implemented, agriculture producers are exempt, but they need to notify their local fire department 72 hours in advance before they burn something,” Alvord said.