Oklahoma's Rhea Fire Grows By 20000 Acres

Oklahoma's Rhea Fire Grows By 20000 Acres

Extreme fire behavior Tuesday, April 17, led to numerous evacuations in the area north and east of the Rhea Fire in Oklahoma.

The Dewey County Sheriff says that about 50 area homes have burned in the Rhea Fire so far.

"Can't rule out that there wasn't something else that happened but, at this point, we're early in the investigation and we're going to treat it as a homicide just in case it turns out that way", Sander said.

The Laverne Fire in Beaver and Harper counties has burned 100 acres, and the Hooker Fire in Texas County has burned 179 acres but is 90 percent contained. In Woodward County, the 34 Complex Fire has burned almost 68,000 acres and is 45 percent contained. Temperatures on Tuesday are forecast to warm into the mid-90s with humidity below 10 percent and winds gusting to 40 miles per hour. No injuries were reported.

As of Monday, a moderate increase in the humidity allowed local, state and national fire fighting assets to make some headway in containment of the blazes - an intensive focus for firefighters since Tuesday's weather is once again slated to mirror those fire conditions experienced last Thursday, said Dewey County Commissioner Dillon Berry.

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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.

The Florida Forest Service is sending 20 additional firefighters to fight the Oklahoma wildfire, and several are from North Central Florida. Officials say two people have died in the fires there and nine others have been injured.

Around the towns of Seiling and Vici, fires are ripping through communities and destroying homes.

"The winds are coming, but wet weather is supposed to be coming too, and we're hoping the wet weather will arrive", Nichols said.

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