All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted.

All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted. Permission required for commercial use or publishing.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wildfires Ravage Oklahoma, Texas.

(CNN) -- Numerous wildfires were roaring Thursday through parts of Oklahoma and Texas, engulfing one town and searing neighborhoods in others, including one in Oklahoma City. Hurricane-force winds continued to kick the flames even higher.

The fires had engulfed so many miles of turf, and flying embers had sparked in so many different places, that hours after the first blazes were reported Thursday morning, safety officials still weren't sure how many fires they were facing.

In Texas, the 100-person town of Stoneburg was "burned over," by a 25,000-acre fire said Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Misty Wilburn.

The town, northwest of Dallas near the Oklahoma state line, had been evacuated, she said.

Seventy-five to 100 homes had been destroyed in Oklahoma, and 13 people were confirmed injured -- two of them critically, according to emergency officials. Watch homes in Oklahoma burn »

Wilburn said Texas authorities were working at least nine major fires Thursday evening, seven in the west of the state and two in the north.

"Everything we have is committed to fires," she said. "Everyone is maxed out."

Feeding the flames were strong winds that were gusting as high as 76 mph, the strength of a Category 1 hurricane, and grounding many emergency aircraft that can't fly safely in those conditions.


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