Task force from Oklahoma County heads to fight wildfires in northwest Oklahoma

Task force from Oklahoma County heads to fight wildfires in northwest Oklahoma

Kansas wildfires have burned about 2,655 square kilometers of land and killed one person. No specific causes have been identified from these fires, though a few were started by lightning strikes from the thunderstorms that ravaged the same areas last week.

And the worst may be yet to come: The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said Wednesday that critical and severe fire conditions could continue across the region through Sunday. Smoke can be seen filling the sky as locals are being evacuated by the Texas Game Wardens and the Sheriff's Office. My High Plains reports that the city of Glazier is under a mandatory evacuation.

Shortly after noon, the Grant County teams set out to southeastern Harper County, the location of the Selman fire which, according to the Oklahoma Emergency Management, has scorched more than 47,000 acres.

Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Katie Horner says an estimated 861 square miles of land have been blackened in Comanche and Clark counties as of Wednesday.

No deaths were recorded in Colorado, where more than 45 square miles burned.

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More than 60 percent of Clark County has burned so far, Morgan said.

Bill Bunting, forecast operations chief for the Oklahoma-based Storm Prediction Center, said Tuesday the powerful wind gusts that fanned the wildfires in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas should diminish to about 10 to 20 miles per hour on Wednesday.

"We've been prepositioned in the Panhandle as an extra resource for the past several weeks now", said Texas A&M Forest Service spokesman Phillip Truitt. She said 66 people were in shelters Tuesday in Hutchinson, 40 miles northwest of Wichita.

The remains of a family farm destroyed by fire in Harper County, Oklahoma. One motorist, reported to be a truck driver, died in southern Kansas on Monday night from smoke inhalation, authorities said.

Lehenbauer says fires, or the threat of fires, have been derailing attempts at doing damage estimates. It consumed more than 350,000 acres and is now about 50 percent contained. So communities are still bracing for a possible reignition today as conditions warm up again and winds pick up, said Woodward County Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer in an early morning interview with the Woodward News.

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A woman in Oklahoma, whose identity has not yet been released, reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack while trying to put out the fire on her property near Buffalo, NBCDFW reported. But the taller grass provides more fuel to burn.

Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday he will grant a waiver to hay carriers in the Texas Panhandle due to the wildfires, suspending the permitting requirements, legal requirements and permit fees for people who bring round bales of hay to Carson, Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Potter, Roberts and Wheeler Counties.

In northeastern Colorado near the Nebraska border, firefighters lost ground to a blaze in rural Logan and Phillips counties. Nearby residents were warned to be ready to evacuate if the fire advances toward them.

More than 70 firefighters from 13 departments battled the blaze, which was reported east of Sterling on Monday morning.

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