Body found in wildfire-burnt Okla. house
A home burns during a large wildfire Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Luther, Okla. / Bryan Terry,AP Photo/The Oklahoman
(CBS/AP) OKLAHOMA CITY - Investigators have discovered a body in a wildfire-burnt house in Oklahoma, where blazes scorched over 90 square miles and prompted evacuations in parts of the state over the weekend.
The number of casualties of the wildfire, which ripped through rural woodlands north and south of Oklahoma City, is not immediately known. CBS affiliate KWTV-TV reported Monday that it will take a few days for the badly burnt body found in Cleveland County Saturday to be identified.
On Monday, the Freedom Hill Fire Department said the fire that flared up near Mannford in northeastern Oklahoma is still burning but has been contained. Officials said cooler temperatures and a light rain overnight helped slow the fire, which scorched more than 90 square miles Sunday.
The National Weather Service said the fire risk remains very high with triple-digit temperatures possible Monday, but rain is predicted later in the week.
Multiple fires popped up in Oklahoma throughout the weekend, and one blaze is being investigated as a possible arson. Witnesses told Oklahoma County sheriff's deputies they saw a man throwing a lighted newspaper from a black Ford pickup, but no arrests have been made.
Hundreds of people were told Friday to leave their homes in at least four counties, while smoke and flames prompted authorities to close parts of Interstate 44, the main roadway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and two state highways. I-44 reopened late Friday night.
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Wetsel said Friday at least 25 homes, a daycare center and numerous outbuildings had burned in the fire that may have started near Luther, a town about 20 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
With the ongoing drought, high temperatures and gusty winds, it took little for fires to begin and spread and there was little crews could do to fight them.
"It's difficult for the firefighters to get into the area because it's heavily wooded on either side of the smaller roads. When the winds are blowing 25 mph it just blows the embers and fireballs across the roads as if they weren't even there," said Jerry Lojka with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
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