OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning in Oklahoma and Kansas (all times local):
Shifting winds have pushed a large wildfire in northwest Oklahoma away from an iodine-manufacturing plant and the small town of Freedom, but authorities say the blaze is still burning out of control.
Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer says the wildfire did not jump the Cimarron River overnight, which would have threatened Freedom, whose 300 residents were encouraged to leave Tuesday afternoon.
But Lehenbauer says Wednesday's windy forecast will make it difficult for firefighters to control the blaze, which has burned about 40 square miles of rural land. Crews plan to survey the fire by air Wednesday morning to assess its size.
Lehenbauer says the blaze had threatened an iodine plant but firefighters were able to protect the facility by parking their firetrucks around its perimeter. He says the flames jumped over the vehicles and burned all the way around the plant before the winds shifted, diminishing the threat.
Authorities are responding to wildfires in Oklahoma and Kansas that have led to evacuations, scorched mostly rural land and destroyed an unknown number of structures.
In Oklahoma, the largest fire was in the same area near the border with Kansas where blazes last month scorched hundreds of square miles. Another burned near Luther, in the central part of the state.
Oklahoma Forestry Services said in a statement that structures had been lost in the fire, but a spokeswoman says the agency doesn't have accurate damage totals yet.
In Kansas, evacuations were underway in at least three communities.
The National Weather Service warns conditions conducive to fire are forecast to occur in both states through Wednesday.