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Latest on Deadly Plains Wildfires: Dangerous Conditions in Arizona, New Mexico; Large Oklahoma Blaze Still Only 15 Percent Contained

Milder conditions in Oklahoma aided firefighters on Thursday, though conditions remain dangerous in Arizona and New Mexico. Grass fires have exploded in the Plains, burning several homes and forcing mandatory evacuations. Two deaths have been blamed on the ...

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twitterCreated with Sketch.emailCreated with Sketch.Next ArticleKauai Flooding Eases But Damage Is Worse Than Expected, Aerial Survey ShowsNewsLatest on Deadly Plains Wildfires: Arson Investigated In Oklahoma Blaze That Killed One5 hours @keyframes spin { 0% { transform: scale(1); } 25% { transform: scale(1.1); } 50% { transform: scale(1); } } @-webkit-keyframes spin { 0% { -webkit-transform: scale(1); } 25% { -webkit-transform: scale(1.1); } 50% { -webkit-transform: scale(1); } } /* BUFFER */ .jw-svg-icon-buffer path { display: none; } .jw-svg-icon-buffer { background-image: url('//'); background-size: contain; background-repeat: no-repeat; } 00:55Western Oklahoma Wildfires Enter Second WeekMilder weather helps Oklahoma crews battling wildfires in the western parts of the state.At a GlanceConditions will still be dangerous Friday for any existing fires and will cause new fires to spread quickly in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas.Grass fires that have exploded in the Plains have burned several homes and forced mandatory evacuations.Two deaths have been blamed on the aggressive grass fires. Authorities are investigating the possibility of arson as the cause of a deadly wildfire in western Oklahoma. The Dewey County Sheriff's Office said Friday it is investigating a fire that broke out April 12, killing a woman that was found inside a burned vehicle Saturday near Seiling, Oklahoma, the Associated Press reports. A second death was also reported in connection with wildfires in the Sooner State: a 61-year-old man who died last Thursday in a fire in Roger Mills County. (PHOTOS: Deadly Plains Wildfires, in Pictures) Conditions remain dangerous Friday in the Plains as firefighters continued to battle two large wildfires in Oklahoma. Jon Erdman, senior meteorologist, says a combination of strong winds and low humidity, particularly in the afternoon, will still be dangerous Friday for any existing fires and will cause new fires to spread quickly in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. "However, there is good news," Erdman added"Rain and thunderstorms will spread over the parched southern Plains Friday into SaturdayAt least an inch of rain is expected in parts of south-central Kansas into central OklahomaThe panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma may see their most significant rain event in six months."  For residents in Oklahoma, conditions began to improve Thursday from earlier in the week, when aggressive grass fires destroyed homes in the Sooner State as well as in Colorado amid some of the most extreme fire conditions in years. In western Oklahoma, a blaze dubbed the Rhea Fire has burned more than 450 square miles — an area larger than New York CityIt has destroyed at least 50 homes and forced hundreds of people to evacuate in Dewey County since Thursday, according to fire officialsThe conflagration is just 25 percent contained as of Friday afternoon. A group of fires named the 34 Complex Fire has burned 97 square miles, destroyed several homes in northwestern Oklahoma's Woodward County and forced evacuations, fire officials saidThe complex of fires is 60 percent contained as of Friday afternoon. By Tuesday night, some towns in western Oklahoma told residents to not call 911 unless they're reporting a fire, the AP also saidA state of emergency was declared by GovMary Fallin for 52 counties. In Arizona, restrictions on campfires and outdoor smoking on state and federally managed public lands take effect Friday, according to the AP, while the National Weather Service rates the fire danger as extremely critical in western New Mexico. A wildfire in Colorado near Fruita in western Colorado closed a section of I-70 ThursdayThe fire is believed to have been sparked by a campfire on Wednesday, the Associated Press reportsThe interstate reopened several hours later.  At least 23 homes were destroyed by a blaze that started Tuesday between Colorado Springs and Pueblo, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder told the APThe fire grew rapidly, torching 64 square miles, but no injuries were reported.A separate fire near Colorado Springs chased 200 families from their homes and destroyed at least five dwellings and several outbuildings, the AP also reportedIt's not believed anyone was hurt by the wind-driven wildfire. Both fires in Colorado are now contained, reports Inciweb.  (MORE: Severe Storms Possible in Southern Plains) In Kansas, the State Emergency Operations Center was activated due to the fire weather conditions, which officials warned were still extreme despite recent rain and snowfall, the AP reported. As a fire crossed into Kansas from Colorado Tuesday night, some 90 homes were evacuated, the AP also saidBy Wednesday morning, the fire had been contained and no injuries were reported, state emergency management spokeswoman Katie Horner told the AP. As a response to the fires, Kansas GovJeff Colyer issued a disaster declaration. <img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset=" 400w, 800w" >1 of 19In this Tuesday, April 17, 2018, heavy smoke billows from burning trees after a wildfire broke out in a farm field along US Highway 183 about 10 miles south of Seiling, Okla(Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman via AP) The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our livesThis story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.Most Popular<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >World's Weirdest Bridges (PHOTOS)<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >Arctic Chill Grips U.S(PHOTOS)<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >How Winter Fashion Has Changed in 100 Years (PHOTOS)<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >'s Best Photos of 2017<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >100 Places Straight Out of Fairy Tales (PHOTOS) <img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >Amazing National Parks to Visit in Winter (PHOTOS)<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >70 Amazing Winter Travel Destinations (PHOTOS)<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >2017 "It's Amazing Out There" Photo Contest: Best of Reflections<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >Photographing the Abandoned Homes Above the Arctic Circle (PHOTOS)<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >Strange Attractions You Can Only See In MichiganOn OurRadarTHE NEWSLETTERSign up to receive storm updates in our FREE daily newsletter.NBC News Headlines<img class="styles-A54tP4F3__noscript__12c_l" src="" srcset="undefined" >Japan To Hunt For 333 WhalesA Breakthrough For Car Batteries?Beijing Smog Reaches New LevelMore Fun for Astronauts? 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