Southern Colorado wildfire destroys 10 homes

Southern Colorado wildfire destroys 10 homes

Fire weather conditions are expected to be near critical Wednesday, with temperatures topping out in the upper 70s with wind gusts up to 39 miles per hour anticipated, according to the weather service.

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

At the fire near Woodward, spokesman John Nichols said firefighters worked Monday to strengthen fire lines in preparation for the gusty weather Tuesday.

MORTON COUNTY -Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., issued a verbal disaster declaration for several western Kansas counties battling wildland fires late Tuesday.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka will remain staffed 24/7 by personnel from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, the Kansas National Guard, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Kansas Forest Service, Department of Children and Families and the American Red Cross. No injuries were reported.

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The outlook for fire weather will drop to low Thursday through Sunday, the weather service said. In Colorado, many out buildings and 5 homes were destroyed Tuesday.

And meteorologists are warning of unsafe, life-threatening wildfire conditions in parts of the Southwest and Southern Plains, calling it a "historically critical day" for firefighters.

The blazes are fueled by gusting winds, low humidity and drought-stricken land.

The Dewey County Sheriff says that about 50 area homes have burned in the Rhea Fire so far. In western Oklahoma, homes in Oakwood and Seiling were evacuated Tuesday because of another fire. Homes have been burned or destroyed in Kansas and Oklahoma too, although emergency management officials have been unable to provide exact numbers because the areas affected by wildfires were still too hot to enter.

The smoke from the fires in western Oklahoma is so heavy that firefighters more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away in Oklahoma City told residents to avoid calling 911 unless they see flames.

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