Cooler Temperatures Aid OK Wildfire Crews


By Steve Olafson, Reuters

Oklahoma City, OK – Cooler temperatures on Sunday gave a slight boost to crews fighting 18 wildfires across Oklahoma that have scorched at least 121 structures and charred more than 68,000 acres amid a drought.

The wildfires burned throughout the night, forcing more evacuations in small towns and rural areas in central Oklahoma. It will be days before the full damage is tallied, officials said.

One of the most devastating fires tore through the town of Luther, about 25 miles from Oklahoma City, on Saturday, razing 56 structures, although it is now under control. Authorities are investigating whether that fire was deliberately set.

A cool front that moved across Oklanhoma overnight lowered temperatures by up to 25oF and may keep the mercury from topping the 100oF mark in areas where fire crews are working on Sunday, the National Weather Service said, although underlying drought conditions remain unchanged.

The largest of the state’s fires has blackened a 58,000-acre stretch between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the state’s two largest cities, and is now considered one of the largest fires in Oklahoma history.

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