DEWEY COUNTY, Okla. – A hunter who was reported missing after a large wildfire broke out in Dewey County has been found alive.
The family of Terry Burleson says he was out hunting with two of his friends in Dewey County when they became surrounded by wildfire.
“He had texted his wife about 3:30, 4 o’clock and said that he was surrounded by the fire and didn’t know how he was going to get out,” said his son-in-law, Sean McCabe.
Two of the hunters were quickly located, but the other man was reported missing Thursday afternoon.
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol chopper flew over the area, attempting to locate the missing hunter.
Around 7:30 a.m., an oilfield worker located the man alive.
“I guess sometime overnight, he was able to find a concrete stock tank and get some water and splash on him,” said McCabe. “And, you know, obviously he`s got some burns, but I think for the situation, it`s very fortunate.”
Family members say the man has been flown to a hospital to be treated and he is expected to be okay.
Fire crews continue to fight wildfires in the area.
About 1,000 people have been evacuated from Vici, Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said.
Some 450 people also have been evacuated in adjacent Woodward County, where a fire has burned 115,000 acres.
“We’ve got historic conditions as far as fire. We haven’t seen these kinds of conditions in a decade,” said Matt Lehenbauer, emergency management director for Woodward.
“We’ve had half an inch of rain in six months,” Lehenbauer said.
Gusts are expected to pick up Friday, which could lead to additional evacuations as winds will “push the fire into more populated areas.”
Another fire in Dewey County is burning more than 19,000 acres and was 20% contained Thursday.
“It crossed a river we hoped would hold it,” said Michelle Finch with the Oklahoma Forestry Services.
Six other fires are burning an estimated 26,900 acres in the rest of the state, according to forestry services.