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Grass fires destroy homes near Oklahoma City

Firefighters are struggling to extinguish a number of wind-driven grass fires in the parched Southwest.

The fires have burned dozens of homes in the Oklahoma City suburbs and forced the evacuation of hundreds more. A fire in and around Harrah has forced the evacuation of two schools and a nursing home. Near Norman, a blaze is threatening a casino and surrounding neighborhood.

Authorities say grass fires have destroyed 39 homes in the Oklahoma City area and they are looking into reports that one may have been deliberately started.

Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said late Friday that 30 homes had been in destroyed in Harrah and nine homes were destroyed in neighboring Choctaw. Whetsel said the number could jump to 50 or more.

He says investigators are looking into reports that someone burning trash may have unintentionally sparked the blaze in the Harrah area, and that another one farther to the south may have been set deliberately.

The wildfires forced the evacuation of many homes, two schools and a nursing home. One blaze also threatened a casino.

In Texas, a fire official says a wildfire threatening the town of Jacksboro in North Texas has grown to about 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 50 to 75 homes. The fire also closed two nearby highways. A 100-acre fire north of Fort Worth has forced the evacuation of about 24 homes.

In Colorado, crews are gaining ground on a wildfire in the foothills west of Boulder. It's scorched at least 200 acres and prompted the evacuation of more than 200 homes.

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