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State of Emergency in Oklahoma; Cattlemen Start Wildfire Relief Fund

14 April 2018

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

Sally Loyd, who lives with her 16-year-old son near Vici e, said she could see the flames, but did not evacuate.

The fire that trapped the hunter began Thursday afternoon near Leedey, about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City and has burned about 82,000 acres (331 sq. kilometers), Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker said.

According to Finley, more strike teams were headed there immediately. He was found Friday morning by oilfield workers.

"Oklahoma wind and drought conditions spurred several large fires on the western side of the Oklahoma yesterday affecting many cattlemen", said Tiffani Pruitt, coordinator of the OCF, a charitable arm of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association.

"All I can say is it felt nice to save a house", Finley said. As of about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, a group of fires known as the 34 Complex Fire scorched an estimated 115,000 acres in the area and is expected to continue to grow overnight. Within minutes, firefighters were calling for more assistance to keep it from spreading southeast, possibly into Dewey County. And those fires are not likely to be contained in the next 24 hours, he said.

Multiple fires continued to burn as of 10:30 a.m. on Friday and a new fire that ignited or reignited north of Woodward on US 270 quickly claimed priority when it threatened some homes near the area along North Canadian River, which runs southeasterly along Woodward's north side.

"It looks like the winds will calm a little on Sunday and that will be when we really start getting something done on these fires", he said. "We will coordinate with the Extension Offices in the effected areas to organize relief efforts and to identify ranchers that are in need".

Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 52 counties, including all of the counties in the western part of the state.

A number of smaller fires have also burned in Lincoln, Kay and other counties.

State of Emergency in Oklahoma; Cattlemen Start Wildfire Relief Fund