The Woodward News

Local News

May 6, 2014

Wildfires continue in Woodward area

Two people were injured and at least one home was lost Tuesday in fires that raged all afternoon north of Woodward, according to information posted on the Ready Woodward Facebook page by Woodward County Emergency manager, Matt Lehenbauer.

The victims, whose names were not released, were flown out by Air Evac. Their injuries and condition are unknown.

The blaze follows two solid days of prairie wild fires in the region, beginning east of Mooreland on Sunday. The fires have kept numerous volunteer and city fire departments in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma engaged almost without a rest for the last three days.

Brisk southwest winds cropped up, hampering efforts to control the fire, which started around 12:30 p.m. The blaze jumped U. S. Highway 270 and headed northeast.

This prompted a number of evacuations in the area and the Red Cross opened an evacuation center at the Pioneer Room in Woodward for anyone who needed a place to stay.

The fire and heavy smoke forced the closure of Highway 270/183 from about 4 miles north of Woodward to the Fort Supply Lake entrance.

The highway was reopened around 8 p.m.

On Tuesday, Blackhawks from the Army National Guard circled the fire north of Woodward attempting to help douse the flames from above. There were also some fire units coming from eastern Oklahoma.

Heavy equipment was being used to try and set up fire breaks and slow the blaze down.

The fire eventually worked its way into parts of Harper County.

Temperatures reached around 97 in the region Tuesday afternoon and firefighters ran low on bottled water.

At about 3 p.m Lehenbauer put out a call to area residents to refresh the supply of bottled water to help firefighters exhausted from fighting in the heat.

Later in the evening around 7 to 8 p.m., firefighters had the blaze somewhat contained at the Woodward-Harper county line along Highway 34, officials said.

No cause for the fire had been determined by Tuesday evening.

Firefighters were also still working on the fire near Quinlan where hot spots kept flaring up throughout the day.

On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin declared a statewide emergency due to wildfires and issued a burn ban for 36 counties in western and central Oklahoma.

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