The Latest: Fires burning in Kansas prompt evacuations

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2016 12:23 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on a wildfires in the Great Plains (all times local):

10 p.m.

Authorities are responding to wildfires across Kansas that have led to evacuations and are threatening at least two communities.

The Kansas Adjutant General's Office said in a statement Tuesday night that about 100 to 150 mobile home residents were evacuated in Riley County, where officials said the fire had burned just under a square mile but been contained.

Eight homes were evacuated in nearby Geary County, and voluntary evacuations were underway in Alma in Wabaunsee County. The statement says a fire is threatening the southern edge of the town.

Across the state in far southwest Kansas' Morton County, a fire was threatening the town of Wilburton.

The state Emergency Operations Center in Topeka was also monitoring a large wildfire in northern Oklahoma that has burned roughly 40 square miles of rural land.

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4:30 p.m.

Authorities in northwestern Oklahoma are encouraging residents of the town of Freedom to evacuate as an uncontrolled wildfire spreads rapidly toward the community of about 300 people.

Woods County Emergency Management Director Steve Foster says sheriff's deputies are encouraging residents of Freedom to leave.

The fire was about one to two hours southwest of Freedom as of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and was pushed by winds gusting around 40 miles per hour, according to Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer.

Lehenbauer says the fire also was threatening an iodine-manufacturing plant. Officials don't believe the plant would be a significant explosion risk, but it could produce environmental hazards.

Officials estimate the fire has burned roughly 20 square miles of rural land, and is about 20 miles from the Kansas border.

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4 p.m.

Authorities in northwestern Oklahoma are evacuating roughly 100 square miles in northern Woodward County as a wildfire spreads rapidly toward the small town of Freedom.

Woodward County Emergency Management director Matt Lehenbauer said around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday that the fire was burning uncontrolled about one or two hours away from Freedom, a town of about 300. It was pushed by winds gusting around 40 miles per hour.

Lehenbauer says the fire is threatening homes and an iodine-manufacturing plant. Officials don't believe the plant would be a significant explosion risk, but it could produce environmental hazards.

Officials estimate the fire has burned roughly 20 miles of rural land. More than a dozen fire departments and Oklahoma Forestry Services were fighting the blaze.