Washington County Animal Rescue Escapes Being In Line Of Wildfir - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Washington County Animal Rescue Escapes Being In Line Of Wildfire

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Emergency management teams are still adding up how many acres burned during Wednesday’s wildfires. Emergency management teams are still adding up how many acres burned during Wednesday’s wildfires.
A nearby pet rescue was in the direct line of fire Wednesday and had to evacuate. A nearby pet rescue was in the direct line of fire Wednesday and had to evacuate.
Sheila Taylor, and the rest of the Animal Rescue Foundation staff, were glued to the window. Sheila Taylor, and the rest of the Animal Rescue Foundation staff, were glued to the window.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Oklahoma -

Emergency management teams are still adding up how many acres burned during Wednesday’s wildfires, but it's expected to top 20,000 just in northeastern Oklahoma.

We know a number of structures, including homes, were lost to the wind-whipped flames, and Thursday we got a better look at the damage left behind.

Right along Highway 60, one of the fires burned through 11 square miles of land; another one that started east of Dewey covered 30 square miles.

The flames got dangerously close to what is normally a safe haven for animals, and had Sheila Taylor, and the rest of the Animal Rescue Foundation staff, glued to the window.

11/11/2015 Related Story: Wildfires Blaze Across Northeast Oklahoma

“That's how close it came to our building. We saw the flames; the firemen were working that area. It took them quite a while to get it out," she said.

It was hard to look away and hard not to expect the worst, especially with extra animals to care for.

A nearby pet rescue was in the direct line of fire Wednesday, and when firefighters told the rescue's owner to evacuate she had to bring her dogs and cats for shelter.

"We're very close to our animals, so it was a very heart-rendering thing to see because it could go up in a flash," Taylor said.

Firefighters worked ten to twelve hours straight, battling what they call the worst string of grass fires they've seen in years.

Chief Kary Cox with Washington County Fire and EMS said, "It was probably one of the most extreme fires I've been on. The wind was, it was difficult to even catch up to the fire."

Cox spent the day measuring just how much damage the county saw - at least one home damaged near Copan and several other barns and hay sheds were destroyed.

Taylor said she knows it could have been much worse for the animal rescue.

“Kind of a surreal type of situation; you're watching it, you're smelling it because the smoke was unbelievable. You're thinking, ‘This isn't really happening.’"

Firefighters said the high winds mixed with dry vegetation and next to zero humidity made for the perfect storm of wildfires.

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