Comanche County, Oklahoma

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RefugeBurn11012016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date:        August 4, 2017

Contact:   Jay Mickey, Fire Management Officer 580-429-2113

 

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Conducting Prescribed Burning

 

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) near Lawton, OK plans to implement a series of prescribed burns in the Mount Scott area of the Refuge. The burns will be located along Highway 49 from the Medicine Park entrance to Meers Road, and east of Meers Road. If weather and other conditions permit, the Refuge plans to burn approximately 6,500 acres of land in this area. The intent of the burns is to remove hazardous fuels to reduce the threat of wildfire to popular public recreation areas on the Refuge and to improve wildlife habitat.

The burns are scheduled to take place over multiple days in August. Smoke will likely be visible from a great distance during the burn. After completion, residual smoke may persist in the area for a few days. Highway 49 may be impacted by smoke for short periods. Prescribed burns are implemented under a strict set of guidelines and weather parameters to provide for public and firefighter safety and to limit potential smoke impacts to residents and visitors in the area. Burns will take place when wind conditions will avoid sending smoke into populated or smoke sensitive areas. If predicted and actual weather conditions do not meet the prescribed plan parameters, the burns will be rescheduled.

For safety precautions, closures of the affected public use areas, including Mount Scott, will be implemented the evening before the burn. Major access points into the burn areas will have closure signs and will remain closed throughout the burn operation. Public roads may be closed for short periods during the burns. Maps and additional information on potential road or trail closures will be available on the Refuge website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/wichita_mountains/ or by contacting the Refuge Visitor Center at 580-429-2197.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws , follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq , watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.

 

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County will replace old bridge on Southwest Bishop Road

COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - A bridge that is more than 70 years old is set to be replaced. It's located at Post Oak Creek on Southwest Bishop Road. It was approved on Monday by the Comanche County Commissioners.It's been in the planning stages for 5 years.

County Commissioner Don Hawthrone said they had several steps to complete before it was approved by the board. They had to select engineers, create a design, conduct an environmentalsurvey, and make sure there is no utilities lines in the way. The bridge is about 70 years old and is in bad shape.
 

Driving down Southwest Bishop Road you will come across a low water crossing at Post Oak Creek. 

"Its just deteriorating we need to do something to it," said Hawthorne.

District 3 County Commissioner Don Hawthorne said commissioners  began developing a plan to replace the crossing with a bridge several years ago.
  
"We have a 5 year plan and each district, eastern, and western district has a 5 year plan and when it come up to put a bridge on that plan we selected this one because of the shape that it is in, and a lot of traffic that goes over it," said Hawthorne.

Over the past few years workers have patched it up, but Hawthorne said that's not enough, when it rains the crossing becomes swept under water.

" In 2015 this whole bottom flooded, this whole area flooded, a lot of people had to evacuate of course the bridge is not going to prevent that it will just keep people from going through low water crossing just make it safe for when water is running down the Post Oak Creek," said Hawthorne.

The new bridge will cost  864,000 dollars.

"This money comes from a special fund that has been set up by the legislature and derived from the registration of vehicles..Motor Vehicles and it is put into the fund," said Hawthorne.

The new bridge will be much safer for drivers.

"In the years past it wasn't as many people populated in the rural area and so we were not quite as concerned with traffic and as you can see from the bride its deteriorating quite a bit and we just felt from the safety of people that live out here," said Hawthorne.

Hawthorne said now that everything is finalized they will be construction next year and it will only take about a month before its complete.
Construction crews will build a temporary bypass, so drivers can still use southwest Bishop Road.

He adds they will also be working on 4 other bridges across the county in the next few years.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

   

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