- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) - The Latest on the wildfire that has burned at least hundreds of square miles of land in Kansas and Oklahoma since last week.

5: 40 p.m.

The Oklahoma governor has declared a state of emergency for one county where officials say a wildfire started before spreading into Kansas last week.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday declared a state of emergency for Woods County, where officials say the fire started. The executive order allows state agencies to spend money to deliver resources to areas of Woods County affected by the wildfire. Oklahoma officials estimated Monday that the fire has burned about 574 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Oklahoma Forestry Services estimates the fire has been 90 percent contained in Oklahoma and Kansas.

5:15 p.m.

Oklahoma officials say a wildfire that started last week in northwest Oklahoma and expanded into Kansas is likely slightly smaller than originally thought.

Oklahoma Forestry Services said Monday a plane equipped with multiple GPS units estimated the total burn area at 574 square miles. The agency earlier estimated the size of the fire at 620 square miles.

Agency spokeswoman Hannah Anderson says the area mapped Monday is likely a more accurate portrayal of the fire’s size because it used more precise instruments.

As of late Monday afternoon, Oklahoma officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

4:40 p.m.

Kansas officials have identified more Barber County homes destroyed in the wildfire that hit the region last week.

Ben Bauman, spokesman for the Kansas Adjutant General’s Office, said Monday it appears that nine homes in Barber County were destroyed in the wildfire. Earlier estimates showed anywhere from two to six homes destroyed in the county.

Bauman says three other homes were destroyed in wildfires elsewhere in Kansas last week.

He says assessments of the damage are just beginning, and the numbers will likely change.

He also says Kansas National Guard helicopters dropped an estimated 68,000 gallons of water on the fire over the weekend.

The fire, which started last week in Oklahoma, before spreading into southern Kansas, has reportedly been largely contained.

1:40 p.m.

At least one section of the wildfire that has been burning in southern Kansas since last week has been extinguished.

John Lehman, emergency manager for Comanche County, told The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1UXzXX4 ) Monday that the portion of the fire in Comanche County is out. The fire, which burned about 620 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas, hit about 93 square miles of land in Comanche County.

Lehman says snowfall Sunday brought enough moisture to the burned area in Comanche County to declare the fire 100 percent controlled in that county by Sunday evening. He said firefighters no longer need to monitor for hot spots there.

The fire in neighboring Barber County was considered about 81 percent contained earlier Monday.

12:05 p.m.

Oklahoma Forestry Services officials are still investigating the cause of a wildfire that consumed an estimated 620 square miles of mostly rural land in Oklahoma and Kansas since last week. Fire personnel are focused on containing its spread.

Forestry Services spokeswoman Hannah Anderson said Monday firefighters have contained about 90 percent of the fire in both states, although significant areas continue to burn. Officials flew a plane over the fire Monday morning seeking a reliable estimate of the burn area.

Weather conditions are expected to worsen Monday as humidity drops and temperatures rise. Officials expect wind speeds up to 22 mph and gusts up to 30 mph in the northwest part of Oklahoma.

The agency plans to release a new fire-containment estimate Monday evening.

10:30 a.m.

Some costs of battling the largest wildfire in Kansas history have so far been tallied at more than $1 million.

Barber County Attorney Gaten Wood told The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1UX6bSf ) that full damage estimates from the fire haven’t been totaled. But he says the cost of resources from outside fire departments and the use of Kansas National Guard Black Hawk helicopters to dump water on the fire had mounted to more than $1 million.

Wood says that estimate doesn’t include Barber County’s costs, some state costs or damage to homes, property and livestock.

The fire spread from Oklahoma into Kansas last week, scorching about 620 square miles in the two states.

Wood also says crews in Barber County would monitor the burned area for hot spots for weeks.


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