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Oklahoma Rhea Fire Grows To 400000 Acres As National Guard Is Deployed

Oklahoma Rhea Fire Grows To 400000 Acres As National Guard Is Deployed”

Some areas of the 248,589-acre fire are quiet, but it was still spreading Monday east of Putnam (shown in red on the map above).

According to a National Weather Service, a fire warning was issued at 5:43 p.m. Tuesday at the request of Dewey County Sheriff's Office urging the evacuations.

Calmer weather on Wednesday should help firefighters trying to stop wildfires that started in strong winds.

The spread of the 34 Complex of Fires north of Woodward has slowed, but the strength of the firelines could be tested Tuesday with fire weather conditions called "historic".

"As bad as it is going to be today, we anticipate tomorrow being worse", Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Shawna Hartman told the Associated Press.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder praised fire crews on Wednesday for protecting so much property despite a lack of air support because of winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour (96 kph) on Tuesday.

The largest of the Oklahoma fires had burned more than 384 square miles.

As if on cue, the fire began to rekindle southeast of Seiling and quickly spread out of control. The heaviest concentration of the fire was near the Canton Y about eight miles southeast of Seiling. OFS reported more than 500 firefighters are working the Rhea Fire in Dewey County alone. A sheriff's patrol vehicle also went up in flames. The fire is being fought by local volunteer departments at present.

"A high threat to the lives of firefighters and the public will continue in western Oklahoma until substantial rainfall is received and spring green up occurs", the report stressed in a special note to firefighters. Central Time announcement that shelters would be opening in Woodward.

The 34 Complex Fire in Woodward County has been relatively quiet for most of Tuesday.



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