Crews battling 2 wildfires in southeastern Oklahoma

AP News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2017 5:23 PM

STIGLER, Okla. (AP) — Crews are battling two wildfires in rural eastern Oklahoma that have burned more than 10 square miles combined.

Oklahoma Forestry Services fire management chief Mark Goeller said the first fire in Haskell County was about 50 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, but might continue to burn for another two days. Goeller said no homes or other structures were immediately threatened.

A second fire was burning about 5 miles northwest of Wilburton in Latimer County, but Goeller said officials haven't determined how much of it has been contained.

Both counties are located in part of the state experiencing the worst drought conditions.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, issued a rare national fire advisory for Oklahoma on Wednesday because of persistent drought and dry vegetation. The advisory is in effect for two weeks and warns residents and fire departments to prepare for potentially severe wildfires.

Oklahoma is just entering its peak fire season of February and March, but dozens of wildfires have already scorched thousands of acres in the past two months.

Oklahoma 's drought has lasted several years. Except for a handful of counties in the very southwestern part of the state, most of Oklahoma is in some state of drought, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor.