OKLAHOMA.- Frazzled residents in a part of rural northwestern Oklahoma paralyzed by days of windwhipped wildfires expressed fear a blaze could overrun their home Wednesday, as firefighters battling the deadly fires there and in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico found some relief at the promise of easing of dangerous weather conditions.
Hundreds of people across the region have been forced to evacuate their properties, homes have been swallowed by the fires and cattle burned to death as they stood in rivers and streams, presumably seeking respite from the flames.
Two people have died and at least 9 injured in the Oklahoma fires. “We are surviving, tired of the fire, stressing. It’s been very devastating,” said Denise McDaniel, who with her fiancee was forced to leave their home in Canton, Oklahoma, Tuesday night because of a large fire that started near Leedey.
That fire has burned about 442 square miles (1,145 sq. kilometers) and is an estimated 3 percent contained. “I don’t know what words to use to describe what’s going on over here,” said McDaniel.
“Our home is still there, but if the fire reaches the town of Canton, our home won’t be there.” U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Nichols, who has been working with firefighters battling a blaze estimated at about 106 square miles (275 sq. kilometers) that started near Woodward, Oklahoma, said he welcomed reports indicating wet weather could be on the way. “Some rain might be coming in Thursday night.
Thursday morning would be better,” Nichols said. The Woodward fire is about 45 percent contained. Officials estimated the fire could be fully contained late Friday, a “target date,” Nichols said. “It’s all weather dependent. Will we get the rain on Friday?” according to Nichols.