NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Nowata County commissioners declared an emergency after fires raged throughout the county all day.

The emergency declaration allows entities to purchase any emergency items as needed without going through the typical process.

The smoke over Nowata County showed the extent of the fire crews had the daunting task of fighting Wednesday.

Lenapah Fire Chief, Doug Sonenberg, said, "Overall, considering this is one of worst fires I've seen in a long time, we are faring pretty well."

Sonenberg said flames destroyed one residential home, but nobody was injured.

He said the winds the crews faced were the biggest challenge.

“What caused problems, was that it was out of the west to the east, and no matter what we did we weren't going to stop the fire," he said.

The gusts continued to shift directions and kept crews working as the sun set.

Sonenberg said, “All of those when they come together make for a real fire danger."

In neighboring Washington County, firefighters worked to keep flames away from Ira Haugns property.

Haugns: "With this tall grass, it just kept going.”
Meagan: “You're just feeling lucky they stopped it where they did?”
Haugns: “Oh yes. We hadn't moved any cattle for the winter yet so they didn't have to run from it."

In Dewey, power crews cleaned up after trees took down a number of power lines.

Overall, a day of high winds and fire kept everyone busy, including The Red Cross which assisted firefighters with food and water.