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Oklahoma Firefighters Battle Grass Fires

GUTHRIE, Okla. -- Grass fires erupted in parts of Oklahoma on Saturday, damaging several homes and prompting evacuations in at least one county.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but dozens of acres were charred and several homes were damaged or destroyed in central Oklahoma, officials said.

"There are evacuations under way in Logan County, and a shelter has been set up for those displaced," said Michelann Ooten, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

An Oklahoma National Guard helicopter with a bucket attached dropped water on a large blaze in Logan County, east of Guthrie and northeast of Oklahoma City, Ooten said. The fire hadn't been contained as of late Saturday.

Ooten said she had not received any reports on what may have sparked the fires.

A Guthrie fire department dispatcher said about 6 square miles of land had been burned, but he declined to say if there was damage to homes or other buildings. Ooten said several structures may have been damaged but she didn't have immediate confirmation on how many.

Footage from news helicopters showed at least one mobile home, a house and another structure engulfed in flames. The Logan County emergency management agency didn't immediately return phone calls and e-mail requests for comment.

The central Oklahoma fire was among about a half-dozen fires that developed on an unusually warm, windy and dry day. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey has said drought conditions persist in Oklahoma, and that the level of dryness in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area is severe.

State Highway 105 was closed for several hours in Logan and Lincoln counties because of the fire near Guthrie. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported late Saturday that it had been reopened. Ooten said a fire also was reported near Agra in Lincoln County.

Farther south in McClain County, emergency management officials secured a water tanker truck for firefighters battling a fire near Rosedale, Ooten said.

"We're helping with mutual aid more than anything else, today," she said.

Emergency management officials secured help from other fire departments to help with a blaze in Rogers County, near Tulsa. A fire also forced the closure of Oklahoma 51 for a time in Creek County, also near Tulsa.

In southwestern Oklahoma, both lanes of Interstate 44 in Cotton County were closed briefly because of flames and smoke.

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