August 4, 2012

USA: Oklahoma Wildfires: Homes Burned, Residents Evacuate As More Than A Dozen Fires Burn In Oklahoma

written by Zeke Campfield
Saturday August 4, 2012

More than a dozen fires are burning across Oklahoma as temperatures continue to climb into Saturday afternoon.

A spokesman for Oklahoma Emergency Management Director said at least five major fires that burned overnight were joined Saturday with several new ones.

Several dozens homes are confirmed destroyed, and evacuations are in effect as many more remain threatened, said Keli Cain, department spokesman.

“It's a combination of hot temperatures, low humidity and what has really been the deciding factor the last two days has been the wind,” Cain said.

Several firefighters have been treated for heat exhaustion, but no fatalities or major injuries have been reported otherwise.

An excessive heat advisory continues through Saturday for much of the state, with 113 degree temperatures forecast by the National Weather Service in Norman.

Cain said the state has dispatched six helicopters from Oklahoma National Guard as well as resources from Okahoma Forestry Services to assist firefighters with the blazes.


Oklahoma County Emergency Management reports a fire ignited near Luther on Friday is 80 percent contained as of Saturday afternoon. Fifty-six structures have been burned, and the fire has scored more than 2,600 acres.

Six helicopters from Oklahoma National Guard dispatched to help contain biggest blazes, reports Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Officials ask evacuees, others to stay clear of burn areas.

More than 40 firefighters from 15 different agencies are on scene putting out hot spots, said Capt. Scott Horton of Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Seven firefighters have been treated for heat exhaustion, one of whom was transported to the hospital, Horton said.

Luther remains without power and water as emergency officials work to contain the fire and assess damage.

American Red Cross reports an evacuation site will remain open tonight at Harmony Christian Church, 7100 Choctaw Road in Choctaw.

Cleveland County
Dozens of structures have burned since fires erupted near Norman, Slaughterville and Noble on Friday.

The heaviest workload Saturday afternoon was two miles east of Slaughterville on 156th Street, said Norman Fire Chief Gary Byrd.

Byrd said 100-150 firefighters were on the scene, and he asked that evacuees continue to stay away from the area.

“There's lots of residents who live out here staying in other places — please continue to stay there, do not try to return home yet,” he said. “We're just going to have to see what the weather holds and see if we have any good luck on it.”

State Highway 9 east of Norman remains closed between E 84 and E 168. A shelter will remain open tonight for evacuees at Slaughterville Baptist Church, 10101 60th, in Lexington.

Creek County
Several highways and roads remain closed as 21 agencies work to contain a fire sparked on Friday. About 50,000 acres were scored and as many as 40 homes have been destroyed.

A shelter will remain open tonight at Mannford First Baptist Church, 105 Greenwood.

Cain said new fires erupted Saturday north of the airport in Stillwater, southwest of Quinton in Pittsburg County, and along Interstate 40 in Pottawatomie County.

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