Gusty winds and low humidity in drought-stricken areas will create unsafe fire conditions in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Relative humidity in low single digits, high temperatures and sustained winds between 25 to 35 miles per hour were expected, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Firefighters from across the country are continuing to fight fires in the state. One fire that started in Colorado crossed into Kansas on Tuesday night, prompting the evacuation of 90 homes.
The level of fire danger Tuesday from west of Alfalfa County to Cotton County exceeded conditions seen in the past decade. Two people have died and at least 9 injured in the Oklahoma fires. Finally, a fourteenth VDOF employee is assisting with a fire investigation in Oklahoma. New fires are likely to rapidly spread and resist control, and the ongoing Rhea Fire and 34 Complex Fires will likely experience additional growth. Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin have issued disaster declarations.
Notices warning residents of several subdivisions in the area to be ready to evacuate their homes at a moment's notice have been lifted and an evacuation center in Grants closed.
Oklahoma Forestry Services says structures have been destroyed, but they are unable to assess damage because the fire is still burning.More news: Meghan Markle Makes A Statement In One Of Her Sharpest Looks Yet
That fire had grown further by Tuesday afternoon, Oklahoma Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said, but an updated acreage was not available.
A southern Colorado wildfire destroyed two more homes Wednesday morning, bringing the total lost to 12.
In northwestern New Mexico, the milder weather conditions Wednesday should be useful for firefighters who were hindered by strong winds a day earlier but managed to keep wildfires largely in check on a mountain and a butte near Grants.