Rhea Fire Tops 260000 Acres in Western Oklahoma

Multiple fires burn throughout Kansas

Gusty winds and low humidity in drought-stricken areas will create risky fire conditions in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Weather service meteorologist Doug Speheger said the forecast represents the most potential for the spread of wildfires in the past 10 years of a database that considers a variety of factors. Wind gusts of 40 miles per hour (64 kph) are forecast, half as strong as on Tuesday. He says the state of Colorado is taking over command of the fire.

Just before 4 p.m., the city of Seiling and residents along and east of US 60 and along and near USA 270 southeast of Seiling were told to evacuate by the Dewey County sheriff, Cain said. That blaze has burned about 106 square miles (275 sq. kilometers) and remains about 45 percent contained.

Officials estimated the fire could be fully contained late Friday, a "target date", Nichols said.

In Oklahoma, two people have died in the fires and nine others have been taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation or heat-related injuries, emergency management officials reported. Notices warning area residents to be ready to abandon their homes at a moment's notice have been lifted and an evacuation center in Grants closed. The largest is the Rhea Fire in Dewey County. Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin have issued disaster declarations.

As of Tuesday night, the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management said, states of emergency had been declared in 52 counties in the state.

A southern Colorado wildfire destroyed two more homes Wednesday morning, bringing the total lost to 12.

And meteorologists are warning of risky, life-threatening wildfire conditions in parts of the Southwest and Southern Plains, calling it a "historically critical day" for firefighters.

This footage shows the fire burning near Seiling, Oklahoma on April 18.

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