Oklahoma wildfires kill 2; threat nears historic levelApril 17, 2018 9:46am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Wildfires that have killed two people in western Oklahoma are nearing conditions not seen in at least a decade because of the mixture of high temperatures, low humidity and heavy winds, the National Weather Service said Monday.

Weather service meteorologist Doug Speheger said Tuesday's forecast represents the most potential for the spread of wildfires in the past 10 years of a database that considers a variety of factors.

Temperatures are projected to reach the mid-90s with humidity below 10 percent and winds gusting to 40 mph (64 kph). The forecast includes northwestern Texas and the Texas Panhandle where firefighting aircraft is stationed in Amarillo, Childress, Abilene and Fort Stockton.

"With these conditions wildfires can spread rapidly, present control issues for firefighters and pose a real threat to public safety," said Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief Mark Stanford.

The area also is in extreme to exceptional drought, the two most severe designations.

Firefighters sent by the U.S. Forest Service's Southern Area Coordination Center are fighting one fire that's burned more than 245,000 acres (990 sq. kilometers) near Leedey, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City and another blaze that's burned nearly 68,000 acres (275 sq. kilometers) near Woodward, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Leedey.

"We're out there strengthening fire lines ... widening lines to make sure they're in real good shape with the wind that is on the horizon," said spokesman Todd Schroeder at the scene of what's known as the Rhea Fire near Leedey. "The winds that we may have tomorrow may make this really stand up and run again."

At the 34 Complex fire near Woodward, spokesman John Nichols said firefighters are doing much the same thing.

"The winds are coming, but wet weather is supposed to be coming too, and we're hoping the wet weather will arrive," Nichols said.

The weather service says rain and thunderstorm chances will increase Thursday night and Friday with strong to severe storms possible in southwestern Oklahoma and western north Texas on Friday.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Cattle are herded into a sale arena at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Ranchers in the Southwest are already running short on food for their cattle as range conditions have deteriorated and warm-season grasses have yet to start growing due to drought. Some ranchers are searching for available pastures and others are considering downsizing their herds. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Drought, wildfires force ranchers to scramble for feed
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2015 file photo, a female red wolf is shown in it's habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C.  Federal wildlife officials say the only wild population of endangered red wolves is unsustainable and could be wiped out within years.  The prediction comes in a five-year review of the status of the species released Tuesday, April 24, 2018, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The report says only about 40 wolves remain in the wild in North Carolina, down from a peak of about 120 a decade ago. Another 230 wolves live in captivity.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
Government: Wild red wolf population could soon be wiped out
Bear Scare: Florida family gets 12-hour visit at their homeA young black bear that spent roughly 12 hours roaming around a Florida family's home had raided their garbage can and approached the front porch while standing on its hind legs
Parents urge Fallin to weigh in on student-on-student abuseThe parents of an Oklahoma middle school student who allege in a lawsuit that school officials did nothing to stop sexual attacks against the boy want Gov. Mary Fallin to use her political influence to draw attention to student-on-student sexual assaults
US Virgin Islands to rebuild all main roads for $1.2BThe governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands says all of the territory's main roads will be rebuilt to federal standards following the damage inflicted by hurricanes Irma and Maria
Hawaii island may have broken national rainfall recordThe National Weather Service says preliminary data indicates the Hawaiian island of Kauai broke a national 24-hour rainfall record during recent flash flooding
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices