March 23, 2017

KDEM: More fires under control across Kansas

21 March 2017, 01:54 | Marion Schneider

Wildfires Lead To Evactuations In Northwest Oklahoma

Wildfires burning 100000 acres in Texas panhandle, killing 3

Since Monday, thousands of people have had to evacuate and numerous homes have been destroyed by the fires that have swept through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Officials with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management caution Kansans that fire danger still exists in part of Kansas due to low humidity and a low dew point.

Residents can help further first responder's efforts, Truitt said, by following burn bans and preparing a space around their homes for firefighters. "The ideal situation is that it would turn cold and rain, and unfortunately that's not going to happen".

In addition to those four states, conditions were ripe for fires in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.

In the Texas Panhandle, three fires burned about 500 square miles of land and killed at least four people.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says 39-year-old Corey Holt, of Oklahoma City, jackknifed Monday while trying to back up his tractor-trailer on highway 34 in Clark County because of poor visibility and dust from the fires. In northern Colorado, a fire in Logan and Phillips counties has burned about 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) and destroyed five homes.

In Colorado, a fire in Logan County burned more than 45 square miles and threatened almost 1,000 homes while forcing the evacuation of three schools.

In Oklahoma, two ranches in Woodward County lost about 200 head of cattle total and a hog farm operation lost several thousand animals in the wildfires, Luke Kanclerz, spokesman for the Oklahoma Forestry Services said.

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One of those was Ray Cambron, a firefighter from Pond Creek, one of several fire departments that made up the Grant County task force. When the smoke cleared authorities found his abandoned vehicle on Highway 305 and his body was not far from the auto, she said, about 5 miles north of the Hemphill County line.

There is an immediate need for hay, feed, fencing supplies, individuals willing to provide trucking, etc. for the farmers and ranchers devastated by yesterday's fires. Authorities said as many as 13,000 people have voluntarily evacuated their homes in Reno County. She said 66 people from the area were in shelters Tuesday in Hutchinson, 40 miles northwest of Wichita.

Six people have been killed in the fires, including three ranch hands in Texas who died trying to protect cattle from oncoming flames.

"Conditions are very risky today and we are urging everyone to use extreme caution and avoid any activity that can cause a spark", Oklahoma Forestry Director George Geissler said in a statement.

The Lefors East Fire was separate from one to the west near Amarillo (Dumas Complex Fire) and from another much larger one just to the north (Perryton Fire) near the Oklahoma border that has burned 460 square miles of land.

An Oklahoma truck driver died after he was overcome by smoke in southern Kansas on Monday night. So communities are still bracing for a possible reignition today as conditions warm up again and winds pick up, said Woodward County Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer in an early morning interview with the Woodward News.

Visit the National Fire Protection Association's website,, for more tips and information to protect your family and property from a devastating wildfire. The fire comes at a bad time for cattle producers as most are about to begin calving or already have calves on the ground.

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