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Firefighters Slowly Making Progress On Containing Northwest Oklahoma Wildfire

Apr 8, 2016

Updated 4/9/2016, 8:28 a.m.

A coalition of firefighters from five states worked Friday to contain a wildfire near Woodward in northwestern Oklahoma. The flames have scorched more than 57,000 acres.

High winds caused power lines to arc earlier in the week, sparking the fire. Those same winds spread the flames over 90 square miles of dry grassland in Woodward and Harper Counties. No one has been hurt, but farm equipment was engulfed.

Fence posts and power poles were torched. A full assessment is underway, but several buildings were likely damaged by flames.

"For firefighters on the ground, what their main task is right now is working on mop-up, which is just checking hot spots any flare-ups, anything like that, getting those before they get out of control,” said Lonestar State Incident Management Team’s Melanie Karnes, which coordinated the response.

The team made a lot of progress on Friday due to calm winds, but officials worry that dangerous fire conditions could return over the weekend.

Original Post

Oklahoma fire crews continue to battle eight wildfires fueled by strong winds and high temperatures. More than 200 firefighters are battling a wildfire that has already consumed more than 90 square miles in northwest Oklahoma.

The so-called Complex 350 fire has largely stayed within its footprint as firefighters work to remove vegetation and dig containment lines. Officials with the Oklahoma Forestry Services say it continues to exhibit extreme fire behavior with flare ups and rapid spreading.

Additional resources including aircraft, personnel and equipment have been brought in to manage the suppression. Crews from Texas have also lent a hand, according to Forestry Services spokeswoman Hannah Anderson.

“They’re just able to help us manage that fire while we also manage fires statewide,” Anderson said.

Officials set up a statewide command center in Oklahoma City and positioned aircraft across the state to support the fires that are still burning and new wildfires that pop up. 

Fire weather conditions are expected to persist through the weekend.