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December 22, 2012

Summit Lakes evacuated

Afternoon grass fire driven by strong winds

NORMAN — With strong winds around 18 miles per hour pushing a grass fire northward, Norman fire and police requested residents in parts of Summit Lakes neighborhood to evacuate.

As Lacy Hampton loaded her crying daughter into their vehicle to leave, she assured the child that this time it would be all right.

“We lost our house in the fire this summer,” she said.

Police blocked off  24th Avenue Southeast between Lindsey and Alameda streets as the Norman Fire Department fought the blaze.

Chris Opie, whose mother has lived on the west side of 24th Avenue for a decade, stood in the driveway watching the emergency vehicles come and go as dark gray smoke billowed into the sky.

Opie said this was not the first fire on the undeveloped land that lies between 24th and the Summit Lakes neighborhood. Near the current fire, blackened and charred trees and limbs still give evidence to past fires.

Tall, drought-starved grasses and woody vegetation mean an abundant fuel source. Combined with strong winds, fire and police officials were keeping the public at a distance.

Opie said the fire had moved across the field very quickly.

By 3:30 p.m. firefighters had the blaze under control and were  working hot spots.

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