Authorities Confirm 1 Dead In Oklahoma Wildfires

Friday, April 13th 2018, 6:28 pm
By: News On 6

A 61-year-old man died Thursday in the wildfires burning across western Oklahoma, according to a wildfire situation update issued by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

Authorities said Jack Osben died as a result of injuries sustained in the fire that started southeast of Leedey in Roger Mills County. Sources tell News On 6 that Osben was a county employee working as a road grader, trying to help firefighters. A family friend said Osben died from smoke inhalation.

Another county employee, Jeff Hensley, was working with Osben and tried to save him. Hensley suffered second-degree burns to his arm but will be OK.

Editor's Note: The family is asking for help paying for Osben's final expenses. Donations are being accepted at Security State Bank in Cheyenne, the Jack Osben fund.

That update came amid a second day of large fires in western and northwestern Oklahoma. The towns of Seiling, Taloga and Putnam are being evacuated Friday afternoon due to dangerous wildfires in northwest Oklahoma, hours after Gov. Mary Fallin issued a state of emergency Friday due to wildfires across the state. The declaration includes 52 counties.

The counties included in the governor’s declaration are Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, McClain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.

More than 200,000 acres have burned across the state since Thursday, including large fires in Woodward and Dewey counties that have prompted numerous evacuations. Multiple evacuations were underway Friday morning as wildfires raged across the northwestern and western parts of Oklahoma. 

Many of the fires began Thursday afternoon and firefighters have been tirelessly working to contain the fires throughout the overnight hours into Friday morning.

An updated wildfire map is courtesy of

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A large fire in Vici has prompted an evacuation of a nursing home. The 15 residents were moved to Newman Memorial Hospital in Shattuck, Oklahoma, the state health department reported.

A medical team was staging near the town of Camargo to help with firefighter rehab. 

The American Red Cross has set up shelters in northwest Oklahoma. They said they would be available to help Oklahomans who have lost their homes from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday at two locations; at the Woodward office, 1209 9th Street or at the Dewey County Sheriff's Office which is at Ruble Avenue in Taloga. They ask affected residents to bring an ID if possible.

State officials held a news conference Friday morning and asked Oklahomans to do everything their power to avoid causing a fire on Friday, calling Friday a "historic fire danger."

Weather conditions are ripe for out-of-control wildfires, officials stressed during the news conference. 

Stay with News On 6 for more information as it becomes available.