Firefighters work to extinguish massive Woodward County wildfires

Firefighters from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas helped fight two massive wildfires covering more than 26,000 acres Wednesday. The fires were at 95 percent containment Wednesday afternoon, said Matt Lehenbauer, Woodward County emergency management director.
by Kyle Fredrickson Modified: May 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm •  Published: May 7, 2014
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Firefighters worked to extinguish two massive wildfires covering more than 26,000 acres Wednesday that burned simultaneously in Woodward County.

Fire crews from three states, a heavy air tanker and two Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters joined forces to reach about 95 to 98 percent containment by Wednesay evening — following what at least one official called a rare blaze.

“We have not had to battle two large ones in our county at the same time of this nature as far back as I can recall,” said Matt Lehenbauer, Woodward County emergency management director. “A lot of acreage, but a little less than what we thought.”

The first wildfire started Sunday afternoon, spread through the Mooreland-Quinlan area and burned about 13,000 acres. The second began about four miles northwest of Woodward and burned roughly 13,700 acres, Lehenbauer said.

The wildfires were aided by 20- to 30-mph winds, low humidity and temperatures reaching the mid-90s, said Todd Finley, Woodward assistant fire chief.

One home and numerous outbuildings were lost. Two people were brought to area hospitals for fire-related injuries, Lehenbauer said, and 25 homes had been evacuated since Sunday.

As the blaze was nearing containment, more than 100 firefighters from Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas were sent home. Firefighters from the area continued to keep an eye out for hot spots.

The cause of the fires is being investigated by the state Agriculture Department, Lehenbauer said.

by Kyle Fredrickson
OSU beat writer
Kyle Fredrickson became the Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com in July 2014. A native Coloradoan, Fredrickson attended Western State College before transferring to Oklahoma State in 2010 and graduating in 2012. Fredrickson...
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