OKLAHOMA — A blaze that started as a controlled burn quickly got out of hand and turned into a fast-moving wildfire that destroyed at least 20 homes and killed at least one person in Oklahoma’s Logan County on Sunday, authorities said.
It was one of several fires to break out amid unseasonably high temperatures and windy conditions in the state.
The person who died, a 56-year-old man, had failed to evacuate when requested, said Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.
The Guthrie blaze was about 4 miles long and up to a mile wide and was burning a largely rural area. About 1,000 people have evacuated their homes, and the fire was threatening at least 150 homes Monday morning, Harlow said.
Harlow put the fire’s size at between 3,000 and 4,000 acres.
“It’s growing so fast it’s pretty hard to estimate,” said Logan County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Stephens. “There are a lot of cedar trees, they have a lot of oil in them and they just explode.”
The fire is the largest of several in the state that are being fueled by temperatures in the 90s and high winds, said Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
“They got three ingredients for a bad fire: high temperatures, high winds and low humidity,” said Daryl Williams with the National Weather Service in Norman.