Wildfire Burns Across Thousands Of Acres In Kansas, Oklahoma
UPDATED, 10:20 a.m.: A massive wildfire still rages in south-central Kansas, though authorities on the scene indicate much of the blaze is coming under control.
Active fires are still burning in Harper and Barber Counties in Kansas. The AP also reported Thursday emergency responders were called back out to Comanche County after a fire that was contained Wednesday night briefly reignited Thursday morning.
No injuries have been reported, though there are reports of a house being burned up in Medicine Lodge. There are numerous reports of cattle loss in this mostly rural area.
Authorities say the worst of the fire missed Medicine Lodge. After it appeared for a time Wednesday as if it might be headed towards the small community, winds seemed to blow the blaze in a different direction. The AP reports a small hospital in Medicine Lodge evacuated 14 patients as a precaution Wednesday.
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A wildfire that is still out of control has burned through more than 72,000 acres in Oklahoma and Kansas. So far, no injuries or property damage have been reported.
The fire originated in Woods County, Oklahoma, just south of the Kansas border. Extreme winds and dry conditions helped spread the flames and smoke well into Kansas, causing numerous counties to declare states of emergency.
Government officials evacuated the small town of Sun City, Kansas for a short time.
Barber County Attorney Gayton Wood says south central Kansas has seen fires like this in the past.
“We have experienced similar fires of this magnitude, about 5-6 years ago," Wood says. "And then we had a very large fire in 1995.”
Woods describes smoke and embers rolling through Medicine Lodge, Kansas on Wednesday, before strong winds eventually swept the fire to the northeast.
He says dozens of fire trucks were deployed to the region to help contain the fire, and that Red Cross volunteers have mobilized in the event of more evacuations.