wildfire

Years of cuts in funding appropriated by the Legislatures means Oklahoma is unable to replace retiring or exiting wild land fire experts and increasingly relies on other states to fight its largest, most dangerous wildfires.

AP Photo / Orlin Wagner

Devastating wildfires ripped across the grasslands in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma earlier this month, and ranchers were among those hardest hit. Some families lost 80 percent of their livestock herds, along with hundreds of miles of fences and land. Seven people have died, several trying to save their cattle. 

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Crews have worked for more than a week to contain a massive wildfire that has torched more than a thousand square miles and killed one person and thousands of head of livestock in northwestern parts of Oklahoma. State budget cuts mean Oklahoma increasingly depends on other states to fight its largest and most dangerous wildfires.

A week after the fire started, state forestry director George Geissler oversaw the state’s response at a makeshift operations center at the Woodward County Fairgrounds.

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U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says damage from a wildfire that scorched hundreds of square miles in northwestern Oklahoma is "unprecedented."

Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator and fellow U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma spoke to farmers and ranchers in Woodward Friday after visiting some of the fire-damaged areas.

Inhofe says he flew over portions of the region to get an idea of the enormity of damage along the Oklahoma-Kansas border. Inhofe says he's visited other disaster areas but has never seen anything like the wildfire damage in northwestern Oklahoma.

At least a dozen wildfires burning in Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Florida have charred more than 1,700 square miles and remain largely uncontained.

Rachel Hubbard of member station KOSU in Oklahoma City, Okla., reported at least six people have died in the wildfires:

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says wildfires that killed at least 11 people and caused more than $300 million in damage are mostly under control.

"[These are] the worst wildfires that Chile has suffered in its history ... [but] are now mostly under control," Bachelet said over the weekend, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. "That doesn't mean, however, that we are letting down our guard."

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

In eastern Tennessee, deadly wildfires are still burning and authorities say it's still too dangerous for thousands of people to return to their damaged and destroyed homes and businesses.

On Wednesday, authorities in Gatlinburg, Tenn., said the confirmed death toll had grown to seven people, reported The Associated Press. Search and rescue crews from local law enforcement agencies and the National Guard combed through the remains of buildings looking for survivors.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from communities north of Los Angeles because a wildfire is burning out of control in dry, hot canyons. More than a dozen homes have already been destroyed and a man was found dead in a car inside the fire zone on Saturday.

The man's home was one of those burned when the fire swept through Iron Canyon in Santa Clarita, Danielle Karson reports for NPR.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Fire crews worked for nearly a week to contain a wildfire that started on March 22 and torched 574 square miles of land near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line, where it destroyed homes, killed livestock and damaged thousands of miles of fence.

Five years of drought, 100-plus temperatures and gusting winds: Firefighters in Southern California are facing dangerous conditions as they battle two day-old fires east of Los Angeles.

And they're not alone. Wildfires are raging in several Western states as a heat wave grips the region.

The Reservoir Fire and the Fish Fire in Los Angeles County, both of which started Monday, have burned thousands of acres each. More than 750 homes have been evacuated, the LA County Fire Department says.

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