Fire crews in Oklahoma and Texas raced Thursday to control wind-whipped wildfires that destroyed dozens of homes, seriously injured two people, forced evacuations and shut down parts of a major highway. Howling wind that had gusted to more than 60 mph grounded firefighting efforts by air in both states and drove blazes that scorched neighborhoods like "a war zone," Midwest City police Chief Brandon Clabes said.
"The wind is the biggest issue, because we can't get ahead of the fires," Midwest City Fire Marshal Jerry Lojka said. By nightfall, wind gusts dropped to about 30 mph in many areas. Oklahoma County Sheriff John Wetsel said an estimated 100 homes or other structures were damaged or destroyed in the northeast part of the county, which includes Midwest City.
Clabes said 20 homes were destroyed in one neighborhood alone. He described burned-out housing tracts, blackened vehicles and a fire that erupted at a broken natural gas line. Two small towns in Texas also were devastated by wildfires. Sunset and Stoneburg in Montague County were left in a heap of debris and ashes after several dozen homes were destroyed. Television news footage showed burning houses and oil tanks and the charred remnants of buildings. No injuries were immediately reported.More...
Door harde wind aangewakkerde branden hebben in de Amerikaanse staten Texas en Oklahoma tientallen huizen in de as gelegd en een belangrijke snelweg op verschillende plaatsen geblokkeerd. De brandweer probeerde donderdag greep op het vuur te krijgen, maar de wind maakte dat niet gemakkelijk. Zo konden er in Oklahoma geen blusvliegtuigen opstijgen.
In het noordoosten van Oklahoma gingen zeker honderd huizen en andere gebouwen verloren en in Texas bleven van twee dorpjes slechts rokende puinhopen over nadat het vuur er over heen was geraasd.
'Perfect storm' conditions in Okla., Texas due to high winds, low humidity
Nathan Christmon surveys the damage to his home in Midwest City, Okla., on
Friday as firefighter Reese Morrison tells his brother, Drew Christmon, that they must
leave the home until it has been declared safe.
Firefighters mopped up hot spots Friday from wind-driven wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas that killed three people, destroyed more than 100 homes, forced hundreds of evacuations and shut down parts of a major highway.
In Oklahoma, the fires began Thursday afternoon along Interstate 35, the main north-south highway through the central part of the state. They continued to burn past nightfall, fueled by ferocious winds and an abundance of dry, early spring grass and brush. "We have in excess of 100 homes that have been destroyed statewide," Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said Friday morning.
Â©msnbc | Gewijzigd: 21 april 2017, 17:48 uur, door Joyce.s