High winds, warm temperatures, and a severe drought are continuing to fuel the spread of a collection of massive wildfires that are burning across farms and forests in the Great Plains. Firefighters have still been unable to get a handle on most of them, especially with humidity in the region dropping below 10 percent.
Most of the fires are burning around small towns northwest of Oklahoma City, blanketing large swaths of the western side of the state in smoke. According to ABC News, the largest of the fires is 40 miles wide.
572 square miles of land have been scorched by over a dozen fires. That’s an area almost as big as Oklahoma City, one of the largest cities in the U.S. by square mileage — bigger than Houston, Chicago, New York City, or Los Angeles.
Last Friday, a number of buildings had been burned to the ground, but on Monday, authorities reported that least two people had been killed.
One woman died in the town of Seiling, according to KOCO. The news channel also reported that a 61-year-old man was killed when using a motor grader to assist firefighters in battling a blaze near Leedey.
Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes over the past several days, and the dry, windy weather is showing no signs yet of abating.
Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Shawna Hartman explained, "As bad as it is going to be today, we anticipate tomorrow being worse.”
Further to the southwest in the Texas Panhandle, a dozen wildfires have popped up, too, amidst high winds. The fire activity is concentrated in Wheeler County, east of Amarillo.
Please pray for the people of Oklahoma and Texas! And for the safety of firefighters! In other news, CBS News made a really embarrassing error Monday.