Firefighters Struggle Against Wildfire In Southwestern Oklahoma

Friday, September 2nd 2011, 2:38 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Associated Press

UPDATE: LAWTON, Oklahoma -- Firefighters are battling a 14,000 acre wildfire in the rugged terrain of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma.

State Rep. Don Armes of Faxon said Friday a fire that began Thursday afternoon is still burning in a portion of the refuge in Comanche County.  So far, it's charred about 20 square miles.

Armes says firefighters are struggling to reach the flames because of the refuge's rocky, mountainous terrain. Calm winds are pushing plumes of smoke and ash northward toward the town of Meers.

Armes says authorities are worried that the fire could threaten structures in the Mountain Village neighborhood.  It's been evacuated, along with the Sheridan Estates neighborhood.  About 60 residents have been forced out of their homes.

American Red Cross spokesperson Rusty Surette says a shelter has been opened at Meers Community Center.  The Red Cross has another shelter on standby in case more neighborhoods are evacuated.

There weren't any structural damage. However, two firefighters have been injured while helping battle a grassfire.

Comanche County Commissioner Ron Kirby said Friday one firefighter received a slight burn and another had been overcome by the heat.

Kirby said he didn't know of any additional injuries or homes that have burned in the blaze.

Oklahoma Highway 115 is closed in the Meers area.