Wildfires Leave $1.6 million Damage to Western Farmers Electric Cooperative

While rain helped firefighters gain more control of the two monstrous wildfires in northwest Oklahoma, the fires have caused an estimated $1.6 million to the Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.

In a recent update, WFEC said the fires destroyed lines and utility poles. The most significant damage was in Dewey County where it totaled $745,000 to 61 69kV H structures while there was $669,000 damage to 51 138 kV H structures.

Woodward county’s damage and losses totaled $221,000 to 15 separate structures. Roger Mills county suffered $30,000 in damages and losses.

WFEC said of its damaged transmission H-structures, not all are destroyed as some require only one pole replacement.

“Preliminary estimates have shown that over 260 transmission poles are in need of replacement,” said the company in a release. “This number is likely to increase as damage assessments continue.”

Using 100 gallon sprayers and ATVs, WEFC crews spent most of their time extinguishing pole fires and also managed to save some structures. But Ricky Allen, transmission services superintendent said because of the size of the fires, the rough terrain, extreme changes in winds and dangerous conditions, the fires won out.

“WFEF’s crews have done a great job considering what they have been up against, and will continue to work hard to get our system back to normal in the coming weeks,” he said.

As of Monday, the Oklahoma Forestry Department reported the Rhea fire, the one which burned nearly 287,000 acres in Dewey County, was 74% contained.

The 34 Complex fire in Woodward County, which has burned more than 62,000 acres was described as 94% contained.