Officials have ordered more evacuations in northeast Oklahoma City, where a raging wildfire is spreading north and has already burned several structures.
Oklahoma County Emergency Manager David Barnes said the wildfire is threatening homes northwest of Spencer. He said residents living between Sooner Road and Air Depot Boulevard and between NE 63, Wilshire Boulevard and Britton Road should evacuate immediately to the west or east.
“We've got too many people coming through and causing congestion,” Barnes said.
Deputy Fire Chief Marc Woodard said a few mobile homes have burned. He said 50 to 80 firefighters are working at the scene, and a National Guard helicopter is dropping water on the fire.
Officials have opened a shelter for evacuees at Pleasant Hill Elementary School on 4346 NE 36. Rusty Surette, regional communications director for the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross, said children on school buses in the area will be rerouted to Pleasant Hill Elementary School, where their parents can pick them up.
He said the shelter will provide water and snacks to fire evacuees.Rodney Pesch, unit operation supervisor for Oklahoma City Animal Shelter field services, said crews are helping evacuate and house livestock animals away from the flames. He said the shelter has designated an area to hold about 20 livestock animals, consisting mainly of horses. Owners can call the city animal shelter at 405-297-3100 to retrieve their animals when the area is reopened.
“We've had to evacuate about 20 horses,” said Charlotte Lupton of Reflections Miniature Horse Farm at Acorn Road and Air Depot about 2 p.m. “This is the last load. We're planning on taking them about three miles away and waiting it out.”
Richard Morren said his farm is east of the fire on 63 Street.
“I've got about 160 acres that I farm,” Morren said. “I'm not worried about my place right now but I'm worried about other people I know out here. It's looking bad.
Officials said the fire started about 12:20 p.m. Tuesday near Sooner Road and NE 50 and spread north in the direction of NE 63. Firefighters said flames appear to be spreading to NE 71. Barnes said the Oklahoma County Sheriff's office, Oklahoma City police and Oklahoma Highway Patrol are helping with traffic control.
“Our plan is to keep evacuating areas and stay ahead of the fire,” said Lt. Jerry Treadwell with the patrol. “Right now the areas around Coltrane and Air Depot are the priorities. We have to keep people out of harm's way.”