The Lexington Wildlife Management Area and surrounding region was devastated after a wildfire blazed through Clevland County yesterday. Current weather trends have provided optimal conditions for wildfires, with fires hitting areas around Oklahoma and Kansas burning tens of thousands of acres, destroyed buildings and resulted in evacuations, according to Garrett Norton.
Norton, spokesman for the Cleveland County Rural Fire District 1, said that the strong winds made it hard to control the fire.
“We thought we had it controlled about eight different times and then the wind would pick up and a new hotspot would go up.” said Norton.
The fire burned 250 acres in eastern Cleveland County, 75 of which belong to the Lexington Wildlife Management Area. With the support from the Oklahoma Department of Forestry and the Lexington Fire Department the fire was declared controlled at 6 p.m. yesterday with no casualties reported. Authorities have yet to determine the origin of the fire.
A local family, living just west of the wildlife management area, lost property to the fire. One of their farmhouses, storing a tractor and hay bales, was destroyed. C. Ralph Johnson estimates the property damage he and his wife have endured to be around $60,000. Johnson and his wife do not have insurance to help pay for the damages.
Due to the hot, dry weather, The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag fire warning through the weekend and people are urged to not burn anything outdoors.