USA — Evacuation were ordered in Spencer after a wildfire spread for miles Wednesday. The fire destroyed four homes, five out buildings one barn and one trailer in the area.
Residents north of 63rd, south of Britton, west of Anderson and east of Post were told to clear the area. Evacuees were advised to exit the area toward the north on Anderson or Post Road, north of Britton and then go east or west.
The fire continued to burn late into Wednesday night between N.E. 63rd and Wilshire and Post and Westminister, with some visible flames still seen over tree lines as late as 10 p.m. Firefighters said some homes were still in danger and many residents who were evacuated had to remain away from the homes because authorities said it was not safe with the fire still burning.
Loretta Woody was one of dozens who evacuated from their home in Spencer. She was planting trees in her yard when the fire started.
Woody said she’s scared of losing the home she’s lived in for 30 years but grateful her family was safe.
“I told myself it was only a house. And I have two grandchildren and they’re not here. One is at daycare and the other one is at school so I was thankful that all I had to worry about was myself,” Woody said.
The Spencer resident said she hopes she’ll be able to get back in her yard soon and finish planting.
Other residents were not just worried about their homes, but their horses and cattle. Percy Craig Jr. and his family spent much of the day trying to protect their land and their neighbor’s land and horses. Fortunately a wind shift saved Craig’s 18 head of cattle and the homes his family was fighting to save.
Jack Waller loaded up a few possessions into his truck and was ready to go when firefighters recommended he evacuate.
“Just me, two dogs, and some chickens, that’s all that’s left,” Waller said.
It is unclear how many acres were burned by the blaze, which spread for miles and smoke covered the area. No injuries were reported from the blaze, but some firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.
Firefighters from Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher and Oklahoma counties battled the wildfire.
“That’s what we do best, neighbor helping neighbor,” Governor Mary Fallin of the many crews who have responded to the large wildfire.
A Black Hawk helicopter was in the area to assist with the fire. They can typically hold up to 600 gallons of water. With the National Guard’s assistance, fire crews were finally able to get a large part of the fire under control Wednesday evening.
The Red Cross of Central Oklahoma has set up a shelter at the First United Methodist Church at 106 Cherokee in Jones. The Red Cross is also encouraging evacuees to register themselves at Red Cross Safe and Well and provide updates for friends and family.
An additional shelter has been set up by the city of Spencer at 10001 N.E. 50th at St Luke Baptist Church. The church is located at the corner of Post Road and N.E. 50th Street.
Spencer Councilwoman Canaday offered her home and land at 4307 Spencer Road as a safe haven for horses. Homeowners can bring their animals, if they are threatened. Her land is located just north of NE 36th Street along Spencer Road. She said she will pasture them for free.
The governor said the state is still under state of emergency order, which allows the state to make emergency purchases to assist with the fires if necessary. She also said once the fires have been fought, her staff will work to determine if the state is eligible to receive reimbursements from federal government.
Governor Fallin also recommended people stay out the way so first responders, so they can do their job and do what they do best to take care of these local communities.
Firefighters have contained another wildfire near a school at Interstate 240 and Anderson Road. The fire started around noon near Life Christian Academy in southeast Oklahoma City. Crews managed to get it under control quickly. The school was not evacuated and no one was hurt. Firefighters stayed on scene to put out hot spots.
Caddo County Emergency Management reported a large wildfire northwest of Cement where six structures were threatened. A National Guard helicopter has responded to provide water drops on this fire. Fire crews have this blaze under control.