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Firefighters Snuff Oklahoma Blazes

From Associated Press

Firefighters raced the wind Saturday to put out three tenacious range fires after a day of windblown grass fires that killed one woman and burned at least 40 buildings.

“It looks like we’ve got all the outside areas of the fires all out,” District Chief Ron Kee said Saturday. “We’ve got some places that are still burning. They’re going to smolder two or three days.”

Winds in the 15 m.p.h. to 20 m.p.h. range made containing the fires an easier job than it was Friday, when winds were 30 m.p.h. to 40 m.p.h. with gusts to 60 m.p.h.

A new brush fire that started Saturday in northeastern Oklahoma City was able to jump the road despite the diminished winds, Kee said. That fire also was extinguished, he said.

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Charred ground stretched for miles across the largely rural areas of the northeastern part of town.

The fires broke out Friday, two days after Gov. David Walters lifted a statewide ban on outdoor burning because of dry conditions.

The body of a disabled woman, Lola Lee Hunter, 68, was pulled from her burned home after fire went through her neighborhood. Authorities said she was found near her wheelchair.

Smokers, arsonists and people burning trash were to blame for most of the fires, officials said.

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Some fires burned through power lines, and about 1,900 customers of Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. were temporarily without power.

Four firefighters were injured.


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