Firefighters monitor wildfires

Ponca City Now - April 6, 2016 10:16 am

KWTV-9 storm trackers Amy and Val Castor saw a road grader traveling in the path of the quick-moving flames. Val Castor said he figured the driver had no chance to escape the vehicle before the flames reached him, so Castor drove near the road grader and urged the driver to jump in their car.

Shifting winds have pushed a large wildfire in northwest Oklahoma away from an iodine-manufacturing plant and the small town of Freedom, but authorities say the blaze is still burning out of control.

Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer says the wildfire did not jump the Cimarron River overnight, which would have threatened Freedom, whose 300 residents were encouraged to leave Tuesday afternoon.

But Lehenbauer says Wednesday’s windy forecast will make it difficult for firefighters to control the blaze, which has burned about 40 square miles of rural land. Crews plan to survey the fire by air Wednesday morning to assess its size.

Lehenbauer says the blaze had threatened an iodine plant but firefighters were able to protect the facility by parking their firetrucks around its perimeter. He says the flames jumped over the vehicles and burned all the way around the plant before the winds shifted, diminishing the threat.

 

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