Oklahoma Wildfires: Hundreds Evacuate, 120,000 Acres Burned, Officials Say

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WOODWARD, Okla. (CBS)  — Wildfires in northwestern Oklahoma have burned more than 120,000 acres and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbaur said Friday (April 13) that the fires have destroyed several homes near Woodward, about 125 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

He says no injuries have been reported.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reports one fire has burned 82,000 acres near the town of Leedey, about 40 miles south of Woodward.

The National Weather Service says dangerous fire weather conditions are expected in much of western Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Panhandle through Saturday (April 14), with low humidity and strong winds of 20-30 mph and gusts of up to 50 mph.

CBS News affiliate KOTV reports the Oklahoma Forestry Service says an “historic fire danger” is spanning across most of the state. The public has been advised to avoid outdoor burning and grilling due to high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity. The governor has issued a burn ban for at least 16 counties.

Lehenbaur said the wind has been changing direction, hindering firefighting efforts.

“Every time we have a wind shift, we have a finger of that fire break off and it’ll move in a different direction,” Lehenbaur said.

“We’re looking at a really, really rough day,” he said.

Lehenbaur said federal assistance in the form of firefighting personnel and equipment, including aircraft, has been sent to help battle the flames.

A turkey hunter who was reported missing was transported to a burn center in serious condition.

“There were three hunters who were trapped,” said Finch-Walker. “Two were rescued, the third man was found [Friday] morning and transported” to a burn center in serious condition.

According to Woodward County Emergency Management officials, four wildfires are burning in the state.

Containment information was not immediately available.

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