Driving near wildfire leads to dangerous escape for Oklahoma couple

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GUTHRIE, Okla. - Logan County fire officials have a warning to drivers who find themselves approaching a wildfire near the road.

Don't drive into the smoke.

Wildfires skipped over I-35 Sunday, north of Guthrie, making conditions miserable for drivers.

Cpt. Jason Starns, with the Guthrie Fire Department, says traffic was at a standstill for more than an hour while crews worked to extinguish the flames.

"You don't know what's on the other side of the smoke," he said. "It could be firefighters. It could be another stopped vehicle or pedestrians."

One woman says she and her husband drove near the wildfire in Logan County and became surrounded by smoke on I-35 and wrecked Sunday afternoon.

What did they hit?

She doesn't know for sure.

The smoke kept them from seeing the front of their vehicle.

"We think (we hit) a trailer with a car on it," she told NewsChannel 4. "They disappeared and we never saw them again."

"The fire went against the wind and backtracked to our vehicle and burned the side and back before fire crews put it out," she said. "The firemen couldn't believe it backtracked like that against the wind."

Starns says treat the smoke like you would treat fog.

He says to slow down, put on your hazard lights, and pull over to the side of the road before reaching the smoke.

Heavy smoke can also disorient drivers once it gets into the vehicle, which is an important reminder since a high fire danger remains until temperatures cool down.

 

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