Multiple fire departments worked a large grass fire Friday night in the area of Fishmarket and Lake Roads.

Multiple fire departments worked a large grass fire Friday night in the area of Fishmarket and Lake Roads.

Shawnee, Bethel, Tecumseh, Little Axe, McLoud and Norman fire crews were among those working the scene just after 10 p.m. Friday as the fire reportedly burned a barn in the area.

That barn belonged to 84-year-old Ann Orsburn.

Thankfully, Ann wasn't home at the time. She was in Moore, spending the holidays with her daughter Nihla Orsburn.

Nihla said it's been a traumatic few days, but it could've been worse.

“My mom was with me. If she wouldn't have been, she could have been trapped; and the shop area caught fire, so her car would have been destroyed,” Nihla posted online.

She said when she was 10 or 11 her parents bought the five-acre plot in 1993, when they decided to start an ostrich farm.

She spent most of her childhood there, growing up on the farm with her siblings.

Now everything her dad built has burned to the ground, she said — but at least the main house was spared from the blaze.

“We were lucky not to lose it,” she said. “There was heat damage to some wiring and shingles, but it's livable.”

At around 5 p.m. the next day — New Year's Eve — she posted on Facebook, “Someone decided to start a fire that burned homes, property and memories to the ground. I was standing (there) … watching everything burn and not being able to do anything about it.”

She believes the fire was set on purpose, citing a video she watched of the event as it began.

“We're not experts, but that's what it seemed like when we saw the video,” Nihla said.

She said she hopes the authorities can find who did it.

Right now, Nihla said her mom is exhausted and overwhelmed.

The reason Ann wasn't home at the time is because she didn't want to spend the holiday season alone — her husband died three years ago, nearly to the day of this fiery tragedy.

“She's got a lot on her plate,” Nihla said. “This was not a good way to start out the new year.”

She said she and her brother walked the acreage Sunday, assessing some wooded areas.

“We checked it out to see if anything looked like it might spark back up,” she said.

The next step for the family is to clean up what's left, she said.

There were other reports that possibly two homes were involved in the grass fire as well, but no reports have been confirmed by fire crews on the scene.

It was an eventful few days. On Thursday and Friday, numerous grass fires impacted central Oklahoma.

Several fires were reported Friday, including five grass fires in the Tecumseh area, said Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams. Compared to Thursday's large grass fire that burned 232 acres in Tecumseh, these fires involved 10 to 12 acres at most, he said.

A large fire also burned near Strother and three wildfires also were located in an area between Chandler and Sparks in Lincoln County. Fire crews from several departments, along with Lincoln County Emergency Management and the Red Cross, were among those at the scene.

Plumes of heavy smoke filled the area as that fire spread, so emergency crews shut down traffic along 3470 Road. At least one abandoned mobile home burned but there were no reports of any known injuries.

A Red Flag Fire Warning was in effect when that blaze began. Lincoln County officials on Friday asked everyone to refrain from any controlled burning, welding, or any other activities that may have the potential to start a grass fire. Lincoln County Emergency management officials also reminded smokers that throwing lighted debris (cigarettes) out of a car window while driving is hazardous and illegal and that Lincoln County residents are not allowed to burn trash.

Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said the grass fire Thursday burned for nearly two miles.

It started when at resident in the 44600 block of Benson Park Road was burning trash, Williams said, and resulted in about 40 round bales of hay burning. He said the fire threatened as many as 25 homes and it took seven different fire departments and 36 firefighters to get that fire under control.

"Forecasts are still leaning toward a dry winter. Residents need to monitor the weather conditions before they burn," Williams said.

Williams reminded residents that "state law dictates that if a trash service is available for your location then it is illegal to burn household trash."

Dry conditions coupled with strong, gusty winds and low humidity mean any fire that starts will spread rapidly.

Citizens are asked to call their nearest fire department if they see or smell smoke.

There are currently no burn bans in place. Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state's lead agency related to wildland fire prevention, protection and use. For additional information about wildfires, visit

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.