Oklahoma wildfires kill 1, force evacuations

Wildfires have killed one person and forced the evacuation of four towns in Oklahoma, authorities said.The sta...

Posted: Apr 15, 2018 8:29 AM
Updated: Apr 15, 2018 8:29 AM

Wildfires have killed one person and forced the evacuation of four towns in Oklahoma, authorities said.

The state chief medical examiner's office reported a 61-year-old man died Thursday in Roger MIlls County as a result of injuries sustained in a fire that began southeast of Leedey, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.

A 54-year-old hunter reported missing in the large Dewey County fire was found alive, Oklahoma Forestry Services Fire Chief Scott Huff said. The man was flown to an area hospital Friday, but his condition was unknown.

Officials said the man was one of three hunters who got caught in the wildfire. The two others were found Thursday.

About 1,000 people evacuated Vici, more than 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said.

Concerns about chemical plant

Evacuations were also ordered in the Dewey County towns of Seiling, Taloga and Putnam, said Michelle Finch-Walker, spokeswoman for Oklahoma Forestry Services.

The Rhea Fire in Dewey County has burned an estimated 138,000 acres and is 0% contained, she said.

Around midday Friday, the National Weather Service issued an advisory saying that fire was approaching the Iochem iodine plant east of Vici. Sander told CNN about 30 residents were asked to evacuate immediately as the wildfire closed in on the chemical plant.

Some 450 people were evacuated in adjacent Woodward County. The estimated size of that fire was changed from 115,000 to 59,000 acres because of more accurate mapping, Finch-Walker said. There are two other major fires in the state.

The blazes have consumed 200,000 acres, Gov. Mary Fallin said in announcing a state of emergency for 52 counties because of wildfire and drought conditions.

"I'm asking all Oklahomans to be vigilant and careful, and to do their part to prevent fires," Fallin said in a statement. "Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe."

'The fire is rapidly spreading'

State officials said dry conditions and strong winds have combined to create potential fire dangers.

"These fires are going to continue to be quite explosive under these conditions, with that kind of wind pushing it, and all the dry fuels that are available," Finch-Walker told CNN. "The fire is rapidly spreading and growing and we will continue to see extreme fire behavior until we can get through this event."

"We've got historic conditions as far as fire. We haven't seen these kinds of conditions in a decade," said Matt Lehenbauer, emergency management director for Woodward County.

"We've had half an inch of rain in six months," Lehenbauer said.

Gusts were expected to pick up Friday, which could lead to additional evacuations as winds could "push the fire into more populated area," Lehenbauer said.

State Highway 34 was closed at the US-60 junction at Vici south to Camargo because of fire conditions. Both lanes of westbound I-40 were closed at Erick because of fires in Texas. Motorists traveling to Texas were advised to not travel any farther than Elk City.

The fires' spread comes as the United States faces a trio of dangerous weather possibilities this weekend: Besides the critical fire danger in Oklahoma and the Southern Plains, severe storms and tornadoes are forecast in the Mississippi River Valley, and heavy snow is expected for the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Clarification: There is one fire in Dewey County, Oklahoma, where the town of Vici is located.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Hi: 59° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 43°
Columbus
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Hi: 60° Lo: 28°
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Oxford
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Feels Like: 40°
Starkville
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
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