Wildfires converge; consume 60k acres in Kansas, Oklahoma; hundreds evacuated
Multiple wildfires raging across Kansas and Oklahoma have destroyed tens of thousands of acres (hectares). Four major blazes converged to form massive fire on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents from a small town in Oklahoma.
Dubbed the 350 Complex Fire, the blaze has blackened about 60,000 acres (243 km²), as of posting.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declares state of emergency in 10 additional counties affected by wildfires.
The 10 counties covered by the executive order are Alfalfa, Blaine, Creek, Dewey, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Logan, Major and Woodward.
Fallin proclaimed a state of emergency in Woods County in March, which remains in effect in that county.
A large wildfire in northwestern Oklahoma was zero percent contained on Wednesday, but firefighters reportedly prevents the blaze from destroying the small town of Freedom, or engulfing an iodine-manufacturing plant.
In the neighboring state of Kansas, “rapid outbreak of wildfires” in the northeast prompted the governor to issue a state disaster declaration for Wabaunsee, Riley, and Pottawatomie Counties. The counties had separately declared local states of disaster emergency, earlier.
Brownback had earlier declared a State of Disaster Emergency for an area in south central Kansas threatened by major wildfires that spread into Kansas from Oklahoma.
Red Flag Warnings are currently in effect across most or parts of at least six states.
April 7, 2016. [The following fire stats are based on NIFC data and local media reports.] At least 26 new large fires have been reported across the U.S. since March 25. In Oklahoma, six large fires have burned up to 425,000 acres. Other states with uncontained large fires include Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Wildfires destroying more acres than ever before
Wildfire Stats [NOAA]
- In March, 6,324 fires (9th least since 2000) burned 649,511 acres (2nd most on record), which is 102.7 acres burned/fire (most on record).
- For January – March, 9,218 fires (5th least since 2000) burned 776,132 acres (2nd most on record), which is 84.2 acres burned/fire (2nd most on record).
Data Source: The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
NOTE: See previous comments posted on this blog concerning quality of data provided by the above source.