Northwestern Oklahoma wildfires force evacuations, burn through thousands of acres

A northwestern Oklahoma town has been evacuated Friday as wildfires rage in the state. About 1,000 people have been evacuated from Vici more than 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said

A northwestern Oklahoma town has been evacuated Friday as wildfires rage in the state. About 1,000 people have been evacuated from Vici more than 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said

The Oklahoma Forestry Services says residents in Seiling, Vici, Taloga and Putnam should evacuate immediately Friday afternoon.

"Air tankers and air craft have been ordered to start working those fires as soon as possible this morning before the fire weather conditions preclude the use of aircraft", Goeller says.

In Dewey County, the Rhea fire has burned an estimated 19,000 acres and is expected to continue growing, officials reported about 7:30 p.m. Numerous fire departments and task forces are responding.

Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency in 52 Oklahoma counties on Friday after wildfires charred more than 200,000 acres across the state.

Milnesand Fire Chief John Mohon told the Eastern New Mexico News that the fire that started in Lea County and spread into neighboring Roosevelt County and Texas' Cochran Count grew to at least 94 square miles (24,282 hectares) before being contained late Friday. "The final size is estimated to be approximately 300 acres". In Beckham County, westbound lanes of Interstate 40 at Erick were off-limits to traffic, and State Highway 34 was closed from Vici south to Camargo.

The forestry services report the hardest hit area is in Woodward County, about four miles north of Woodward.

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SH-30 between I-40 and SH-152 and between I-40 and SH-9 remains open at this time, but motorists are advised to use extreme caution due to wild fires nearby this route.

There are two other major fires in the state.

With hundreds of thousands of acres of the state burning, state agencies down to the individual are offering assistance to victims and those fighting the fires.

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

The Oklahoma Insurance Department has representatives on hand to help victims with insurance claim questions, as well to help protect victims from fraud.

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