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Fast-moving wildfire kills 1, burns at least 20 homes in Oklahoma

By Neda Farshbaf and Joe Sutton, CNN
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Fire was 75% contained Monday morning, fire chief says
  • The fire began as a controlled burn
  • The Guthrie blaze is one of several to break out in the state
  • The fire is being fueled by hot, dry weather and high winds

(CNN) -- A blaze that started as a controlled burn got out of hand and turned into a fast-moving wildfire that destroyed at least 20 homes and killed at least one person in Oklahoma's Logan County on Sunday, authorities said.

It was one of several fires to break out amid unseasonably high temperatures and windy conditions in the state.

The person who died, a 56-year-old man, had failed to evacuate when requested, Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow said.

The fire, burning in a rural area near the county seat of Guthrie, was about 75% contained by Monday morning, but could threaten about 150 homes if it flares back up and jumps a containment line, Harlow said.

It had been about 4 miles long and up to a mile wide, burning between 3,000 and 4,000 acres by Sunday night, Harlow said. About 1,000 people evacuated their homes at some point, he said.

Harlow said the fire began as a controlled burn on at least one property. He said he didn't know what was being burned or who had been conducting the burn.

The fire was the largest of several in the state that are being fueled by temperatures in the 90s and high winds, said Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

"They got three ingredients for a bad fire: high temperatures, high winds and low humidity," said Daryl Williams with the National Weather Service in Norman.

What to know about wildfires

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