The first body pulled from a fire-ravaged home emphasized the human toll of the Oklahoma wildfires that have burned thousands of acres and destroyed an untold number of properties across the state in the past week.
The body was found Saturday in east Norman near 120th Avenue SE and State Highway 9, authorities said Monday.
Early estimates indicate at least 100 structures and 7,900 acres burned in Cleveland County.
The state medical examiner is trying to identify the victim pulled from the home, spokeswoman Amy Elliott said.
“The body is burned beyond recognition,” she said.
Elliott said the victim is an adult, but officials don't know the race or gender.
Fires continue to burn
Wildfires in hard-hit Creek County continued to burn Monday, authorities reported. More than 58,000 acres have burned as fires hopscotch across a parched Oklahoma landscape there.
Fires also were burning Monday in Yale and near Cushing, officials report.
In Little Axe in Cleveland County, a house fire sparked a small grass fire Monday morning, fire officials said. The log cabin-style home burned down, but the grass fire was contained.
Norman Emergency Management reported the fire in Norman is contained with units roaming for hot spots.
Overall, more than 93,400 acres have burned in fires across the state since July 30, Oklahoma Emergency Management officials said.
911 recording released
The Oklahoma County sheriff's staff continues to investigate reports that arson sparked a Luther fire that ripped through more than 2,600 acres Friday, a spokesman said Monday.
The sheriff released a 911 call from man who said the area exploded with fire after a pickup driver threw something out the window before speeding away.
The shouting caller told an Oklahoma County dispatcher he saw a driver of a “blueish-black truck” throw something out of a window near NE 150 and N Luther Road off the Turner Turnpike.
“I got up there where he was at, and the whole woods exploded when I got up to him,” the man said. “I got a fire here bad.”
The caller stayed in the area as a grass fire began to rage to warn nearby homeowners, according to the 911 recording.
Drumright fire officials in sore need of a boost in resources got some peace of mind when the federal government approved grants to help reimburse local governments, volunteer fire departments and other first responders for costs associated with the fires.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved grants for seven fires, the state Emergency Management Department announced Monday:
• July 30 in Stillwater
• Thursday in Geary
• Fiday in Luther, Noble/Norman/Slaughterville and Creek County
• Saturday in Drumright and Glencoe.
The fire that hit Drumright and the surrounding area in Creek and Payne counties strained every resource, officials said.
“Funds are diminishing,” Drumright Fire Chief Wade Guyer said Sunday, a day after firefighters beat back a fire surrounding the town on three sides. “Manpower, they're getting tired. Our equipment is starting to break down.”
The grants won't solve all issues brought on by a marathon of wildfire.
Water reserves are running extremely low in the area, Guyer said.
The fire danger continued to be extremely high across Oklahoma, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, low humidity and winds, according to forestry services.
A statewide burn ban instituted by Gov. Mary Fallin remains in effect.
Contributing: Staff Writer Robert Medley
has tallied the
number of acres
state since Friday:
• Cushing: 1,578 acres
• Drumright: 6,493
• Luther: 2,600 acres
• Ninnekah: 9,600 acres
• Norman/Noble/Slaughterville: 7,900 acres
• Shamrock: 3,990 acres
• Yale: 2,823 acres