Large Wildfire Burns Nearly 400,000 Acres In Oklahoma, Kansas

Thursday, March 24th 2016, 2:44 pm
By: News 9

A large wildfire has burned nearly 400,000 acres in Oklahoma and Kansas.

According to the latest update from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the large Anderson Creek fire in Woods County grew rapidly Wednesday as extremely dry air and strong gusty winds hampered firefighting efforts. The fire is reported to have started approximately 15 miles west of Alva near Camp Houston.

Oklahoma Forestry Services officials estimate 397,420 acres have burned in Oklahoma and Kansas with 0 percent containment. 

“Cooperation between county, state and out of area resources is critical,” said Drew Daily, incident commander. “Given the complexity of the incident, we will transfer command of the fire to a Type 2 Incident Management Team remaining in Unified Command with Woods County to effectively manage and suppress this large wildfire.”

Several structures and communities are threatened by the large blaze, with several structures reported as lost. Oklahoma Emergency Management damage assessments are on-going.

Officials said very high fire danger is present on Thursday, west of a line from Washington County to Jefferson County. Northwesterly winds are forecast in the 10-15 mph range with 20+ mph gusts possible and low relative humidity dropping into the upper teens. Fire officials caution that any on-going or new fires have the potential to burn and spread rapidly with erratic fire behavior.

Due to this potential behavior, officials ask citizens to call and report any smoke or fires to their nearest fire department.

“Reporting fires quickly is critical to keeping fire size small,” Daily said.  

A News 9 crew is in Woods County speaking to authorities and those affected by this fire. Watch Joleen Chaney's complete story on News 9 at 5 p.m. Thursday.