A series of large fires are continuing in northwestern Oklahoma on Sunday, April 15, destructive enough to prompt the evacuations of hundreds of people a couple days earlier. Several homes have been destroyed and two people have died. Overall, the fires are covering more than 360,000 acres in the state. The Oklahoma Forestry Service says the state is still under a “historic fire danger.” A burn ban has been issued in 16 counties, and residents are asked to avoid outdoor grilling. On Friday, a state of emergency was declared in 52 counties in Oklahoma due to the wildfires and drought conditions, as windy conditions helped the fires spread. Here are maps of where the fires and evacuations currently are as of Sunday, April 15. There were no significant changes from Saturday, the day before, but the fires continue to be a threat.
Locations & Sizes of the Oklahoma Fires for Sunday, April 15
You can find an interactive map of the Oklahoma fires here, or embedded below. This map could be very helpful to people in the area. Gmap4 describes the map this way: “Here is a Google + GIS map with the latest MODIS satellite hotspot data for the Oklahoma fires. Each time you open the map you will see the most recent hotspot data that is hosted on federal GIS servers. Typically this data is updated twice per day. Click the map and follow the link for the current fire weather forecast. Click “Map tips” in the upper left corner for the map legend and more information.”
The Rhea fire (sometimes called the Dewey fire) is the largest of all the Oklahoma wildfires. It started around 2 p.m. on April 12, nine miles southeast of Leedey in Dewey County, OKC Fox reported. It grew to 19,000 acres by Thursday night. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry reported that on Friday, it was 82,000 acres. By the morning of Sunday, April 15, the Rhea fire was still the same size that it was on Saturday: 242,000 acres and only 3 percent contained. Here’s a map of the fire provided by Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), below.
OFS wrote about the fire on Saturday evening: “Over 500 firefighters worked today with brutal winds out of the northwest. The fire became very active this evening in the drainages southeast of the fire burning towards Thomas and Fay in Dewey county.”
The 34 Complex fire near Woodward is the second largest of the current fires. It forced 450 people out of their homes and had grown to more than 115,000 acres as of Friday. By Saturday, April 14, the fire remained at 115,000 acres and was 13 percent contained. But on Sunday, the fire was reported to be 53,000 acres and 25 percent contained. Here’s a map of the fire as of around 1 p.m. Central on Frida, courtesy of OFS. On Saturday night, OFS wrote about the fire: “#34Complexfire in Woodward County grew this afternoon to the southeast. Approximately 65 fire fighters worked today extinguishing hot spots.” The fire is actually smaller as of Sunday than is shown in the map below, but this is the most recent map provided by OFS.
The Roadside Fire in Woodward County was 1,500 acres and 10 percent contained on Friday, but firefighters gained quite a bit of ground and by the morning of Saturday, April 14, it was 961 acres and 51 percent contained. It remained the same size as of Sunday morning.
The Shaw Fire in Roger Mills County was at 3,500 acres and 25 percent contained as of earlier Friday, but then it grew to 7,257 acres. By the morning of Saturday, April 14, the fire was still contained to 7,257 acres and 40 percent contained. On Sunday, it remained the same size. Here is the most recent map available of the fire:
The 66 Fire in Lincoln County was 150 acres and 50 percent contained on Friday, and by Sunday morning it was 75 percent contained. And the Anderson Road fire in Logan County was 60 acres and 50 percent contained on Friday, and by Sunday morning it was 75 percent contained.
The Dollar Pond Fire in Caddo County was 300 acres and 10 percent contained as of Saturday morning, and remained the same size on Sunday morning. You can see a map below.
Here are some more fires that are currently largely contained. The Cheyenne Fire in Roger Mills County was 81 acres and 90 percent contained by Sunday morning. The East Reydon Fire in Roger Mills County was 1,232 acres and 81 percent contained by Sunday morning. The 48/33 Fire in Creek County was 162 acres and 89 percent contained by Sunday morning. The Brake Road Fire in Kay County was 400 acres and 80 percent contained. And the Hwy 11 Fire in Kay County was 350 acres and 73 percent contained.
On Saturday, a new fire popped up called The Martha Fire, requiring the community of Martha to be evacuated. Numerous structures were lost. Here is what OFS shared about the fire on Saturday late afternoon:
This is what parts of Oklahoma looked like on Friday, reported David Begnaud from CBS:
This satellite imagery shows the wildfires in Oklahoma yesterday:
Evacuations Were Ordered from the Oklahoma Fires
On Friday afternoon, residents in Seiling, Taloga, and Putnam in Oklahoma were being told to evacuate immediately due to the wildfire. Evacuations are also in effect for Vici, OFS reported.
Residents of Seiling were told to travel north or east away from the fire. Residents of Taloga and Putnam were told to travel south to avoid the fire. An evacuation center was opened at Elm Grove Community Church in Chester, Oklahoma on Friday afternoon.
By Sunday, there was still a high fire danger in the area, OFS reported. Firefighters were taking advantage of small weather improvements to make progress on fighting the wildfires, but the potential for extreme fire weather persists into next week.
One Person Has Died from the Oklahoma Fires
Multiple structures have been destroyed. One of the structures destroyed was Trinity Church in Nowata, News on 6 reported. Despite multiple fire departments responding, the church was a total loss. Thankfully, no one was injured. Pastor Connie Wilson said the church had just filled its food bank for an upcoming donation event.
A turkey hunter was injured in the fires. He was trapped overnight in the fires and was badly burned. He was found Friday morning and taken to a burn center.
One person has died from the fires. Jack Osben, 51, was a county employee who was working as a road grader and helping the firefighters. He died from smoke inhalation, News 9 reported.
How to Stay Updated About the Oklahoma Fires
One of the best sources for staying updated about the fires is the Oklahoma Forestry Services page on Facebook. They are consistently posting updates, evacuation news, and breaking information. You can also follow them on Twitter.
Photos & Videos of the Oklahoma Fires
Here are photos and videos of the fires: