July 24, 2017

Four dead as wildfires burn across Texas panhandle

10 March 2017, 12:47 | Leonard Manning

Four dead as wildfires burn across Texas panhandle

Governor Activates State Resources To Help Combat Wildfires In Texas Panhandle

He says the area of greatest concern Wednesday is from central and western Oklahoma to western Missouri, with additional danger from Nebraska and Iowa to the Texas Panhandle.

Wildfires in northwestern Oklahoma prompted evacuations of multiple towns, according to state forestry officials, who said more than 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) have burned. One died from smoke inhalation and two from burns.

In Oklahoma, the governor's office says 300,000 acres in three counties alone have burned.

Bunting says the winds will come mostly from the south and southwest, but at 40 miles per hour or higher, and with humidity levels below 20 percent, people shouldn't mistakenly believe the threat is reduced.

Additionally, the service is asking everyone to report any wildfires immediately through 911, avoid the vicinity of wildfires to allow firefighters faster access to fires and to heed all evacuation notices. At last check, the fire was listed as being only 25 percent contained, but that the fire's activity was reported as "low" by the Forest Service.

The latest death happened in Lipscomb County, Texas.

Airtankers out of Amarillo and Abiliene assisted in putting out the fire.

The Dumas Complex Fire, in Potter County near Amarillo, is about 90 percent contained Tuesday after consuming an estimated 29,197 acres since it ignited amid humidity in the single digits and winds in excess of 50 miles per hour.

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High winds hindered the efforts of emergency personnel battling wildfires Tuesday in Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma that have forced hundreds of people from their homes and destroyed several buildings.

Phillip Truitt, a spokesman for the Forest Service, said his agency has confirmed three firefighters were injured battling the blazes.

"Unfortunately, it (cattle loss) has been in the thousands, but there is not a specific number on the amount of cattle that have been killed", Katie Horner, an emergency management spokeswoman in No.3 cattle state Kansas, said in a social media post.

Another person was killed in Hemphill County, Texas near Oklahoma border.

The Clark County fire in Southern Kansas was the most devastating in the state. Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 22 counties.

Ash from the fires reportedly fell from the sky as far east as Oklahoma City even though they were burning more than 100 miles to the west of the city.

Another 235 square miles have burned in neighboring Comanche County, Kansas. Nearby residents were warned to be ready to evacuate if the fire advances toward them.

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