Sheriff: Possible arson investigated in Oklahoma wildfire

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DEWEY COUNTY, Okla. - Authorities are investigating the possibility of arson in connection with one of two large wildfires burning in Oklahoma.

Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said Friday that one person has been questioned, but not arrested, about a fire that began April 12, south of Vici. Vici is about 110 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

"We had some reports that someone may have started that fire and we looked at the burn pattern and there is some things that could support that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what happened," Sander said Friday afternoon.

That fire merged with a fire that began near Leedey and has burned about 452 square miles.

Sander said he's asked the state Department of Food, Forestry and Agriculture for arson investigators to determine the cause of the fire.

"Trying to find evidence that would relate back to the ignition source is very difficult," he said.

The Rhea Fire, which engulfed much of Dewey County for the last week has burned nearly 300,000 acres and was 25 percent contained as of Friday.

Two deaths have been attributed to the fires in the state over the last week.

Dewey County authorities are also investigating a possible homicide case after a woman was found dead in her burned vehicle last Saturday, south of Seiling. Sander said Friday the woman's name is not being released at this time, pending identification by the medical examiner's office.

A second person died in a separate wildfire in the state late last week.


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