Florida sends firefighters to help battle Oklahoma wildfires

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As hundreds of firefighters continue to battle wildfires across northern and western Oklahoma, they’re getting a little help from other agencies.

Oklahoma Forestry officials said well over 366,000 acres primarily in western Oklahoma have burned. The 52-county state of emergency is still in effect, while strong winds urge on the flames.

“The wind’s horrible,” Weatherford Fire Chief Mike Karlin said. “We had wind all through the night. Typically, in the night, we get higher humidities, we get lower winds. The only thing that we’ve had is cooler temperatures, and that hasn’t affected the fire conditions at all.”

Evacuations were also ordered in the Dewey County towns of Seiling, Taloga and Putnam, said Michelle Finch-Walker, spokeswoman for Oklahoma Forestry Services.

On Friday, the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture announced that the Florida Forest Service was sending 28 firefighters to help firefighters in northwest Oklahoma.

“Our wildland firefighters are always prepared to provide unwavering support to other states in need of assistance to fight wildfires, and I applaud their selfless dedication to protecting our fellow Americans,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

The group flew to the Sooner State this weekend and is working to manage the suppression efforts.

“Our firefighters have proven their bravery time and time again when fighting Florida’s wildfires. They are exceptionally well-trained, and we are ready to support the suppression efforts in Oklahoma in any way we can,” said Florida Forest Service Director and State Forester Jim Karels.