1,000 evacuate as wildfire razes Oklahoma homes
May. 5, 2014 8:49 AM EDT
GUTHRIE, Okla. (AP) - Firefighters worked through the night and into early Monday to battle a large wildfire that destroyed at least six homes and left one person dead after a controlled burn spread out of control in central Oklahoma.
The wildfire broke out Sunday afternoon near Guthrie and by 9 p.m. had burned an estimated 4 to 6 square miles of land as well as several homes, Guthrie Fire Department Chief Eric Harlow said. Aerial television footage shows the fire still burning at daybreak Monday and Harlow said the fire was about 75 percent contained.
About 1,000 people were evacuated from homes in the city about 35 miles north of Oklahoma City Sunday, according to the fire department. Harlow said a 56-year-old man who did not leave was found dead in his home Sunday night.
The Guthrie Fire Department said six homes were destroyed and that the number of damaged or destroyed homes was expected to rise Monday. Fire department crews were assessing the fire and damage by helicopter at daybreak Monday.
Tabitha Diamond, who lives a few miles from Guthrie, told KOCO-TV that she was returning from a music festival in Noble when she saw the flames and sped home. The fire missed her place but destroyed a nearby trailer home.
"It didn't get close enough, but it got too close," she said.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at a church in Guthrie for those affected by the fire.
High winds and dry conditions fueled several wildfires in Oklahoma on Sunday, and those conditions were expected to persist Monday. The National Weather Service predicted a high temperature of 100 degrees in Guthrie on Monday, with winds gusting up to 31 mph.