Oklahoma wildfire kills 1, forces evacuations

The fire near Woodward was estimated at 115,000 acres

The fire near Woodward was estimated at 115,000 acres. Credit Oklahoma Forestry Service via Woodward News

A brush fire was being fought Friday evening in the area of Youngstown Ridge Road in Ligonier, a Westmoreland dispatcher said.

On Thursday, a 61-year-old man died as a result of injuries from a fire in Roger Mills County.

Fire officials said crews are focused on securing the fires' north and east sides to protect several subdivisions.

Authorities say a brush fire is burning near the University of Maryland's flagship campus. Oklahoma Forestry Services is supporting the fire with aircraft, and a task force, along with numerous fire departments and task forces also responding. As of about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, a group of fires known as the 34 Complex Fire scorched an estimated 115,000 acres in the area and is expected to continue to grow overnight.

Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbaur says a separate fire near Woodward has burned more than 120,000 acres (485 sq. kilometers) and forced the evacuation of about 450 people from their homes, but no injuries are reported.

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Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 52 Oklahoma counties due to wildfires.

Clarification: There is one fire in Dewey County, Oklahoma, where the town of Vici is located.

Under the governor's executive order, which is in effect for 30 days, state agencies may make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.

Wildfire conditions are expected to worsen Friday, with the National Weather Service categorizing the threat level as historic.

This is a developing story.

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