Wildfires have killed two people and burned more than 400,000 acres in western Oklahoma, and dry, windy weather already hindering firefighting efforts there will only get worse as the week progresses, fire and forestry officials said.
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said in a news release late Sunday that a 61-year-old man died Thursday because of injuries suffered in the fire that began that day near Leedey, about 110 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Cain said a woman also died as a result of a fire near Seiling, about 90 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
Additional details have not been released and Cain said she has no further information on the deaths.
The largest fire, which began near Leedey and has burned more than 245,000 acres in Dewey County, is about 3 percent contained, according to forestry services. A fire that began near Woodward, about 20 miles north of Leedey, has burned nearly 68,000 acres and is 45 percent contained.
The National Weather Service issued Red Flag Fire warnings for the region through Tuesday. The threat was expected to be critical on Monday and increase on Tuesday. Monday temperatures reached the mid-80s with humidity as low as 10 percent and wind gusts of up to 30 mph. Temperatures on Tuesday are forecast to warm into the mid-90s with humidity below 10 percent and winds gusting to 40 mph.
More than 1,400 people were forced to flee their homes Thursday and Friday when the fires began and spread, but there were no evacuation orders in place Monday morning, according to Cain.
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