Wildfires continue to burn in Kansas, Oklahoma

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service warned that much of New Mexico, parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were at an extreme risk of wildfires, due to a heady mix of hot, dry weather and strong winds, in some places gusting up to 80 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday that fire conditions remain critical in northwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle, the eastern half of the Texas Panhandle and in southwestern Kansas.

By early afternoon Tuesday, temperatures that were projected to reach the mid-90s had reached 88 degreeswith humidity at 6 percent.

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) Chief of Operations Ed Zimmer said, "Our friends in the Southwest are on their second month of ongoing, significant fire activity and need some help". Authorities were so busy just trying to get people evacuated they weren't able to do much to fight the flames or protect property.

The level of fire danger Tuesday from west of Alfalfa County to Cotton County exceeded conditions seen in the past decade.

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Two people have died in the Oklahoma fires, which began late last week.

There are two main fires burning: one hat's burned more than 245,000 acres near Leedey, about 110 miles northwest of Oklahoma City and another blaze that's burned almost 68,000 acres near Woodward, about 20 miles north of Leedey.

In Colorado, fire crews on Tuesday battled fast-moving, wind-sparked blazes that stretched from the Denver area northward and eastward toward Kansas.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has issued a disaster declaration. Homes have been burned or destroyed in Kansas and Oklahoma too, although emergency management officials have been unable to provide exact numbers because the areas affected by wildfires were still too hot to enter.

The Mississippi firefighters will team with other crews from state and federal agencies to battle the "Rhea" wildfire, which has torched around 245,000 acres to this point.

  • Megan Austin