OKLAHOMA CITY – A second day of windy weather hampered crews Monday as they tried to control grass fires that had destroyed homes and forced hundreds of people to evacuate in parts of Oklahoma and Texas.
Strong northwesterly wind, with gusts to near 50 mph, was expected to continue through the day, part of a huge storm system that also produced blizzard conditions on the central and northern Plains, the National Weather Service said.
Hundreds of families had been evacuated and five buildings, including homes, were destroyed by three fires in McIntosh County in east-central Oklahoma, state Emergency Management spokeswoman Michelann Ooten said.
"There have been houses lost across the state, but we don't have an exact number," she said. She also didn't have an exact number on how many people had been evacuated.
A wildfire in south-central Oklahoma's Stephens County destroyed more than 10 buildings and forced authorities to evacuate several hundred residents of outlying areas into the center of Velma, while others fled to Duncan, officials said.
Residents also had been evacuated near the small town of Chouteau, east of Tulsa.
The wind also fanned grass fires in at least six northern Texas counties on Sunday.
One Texas fire began west of Cleburne, about 30 miles south of Fort Worth, and spread north into neighboring Tarrant County, burning 1,000 acres and 24 structures along the way, Johnson County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Cpl. Pam Jetsel said. She said the destroyed structures included six homes.