Oklahoma church endures as wildfires spread

Vici, Oklahoma

Several wildfires broke out across Western Oklahoma last week, destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of land and several buildings. At least 19 people have been treated for smoke inhalation and heat-related injuries, one person has been treated for burns, and two people were killed.

Vici Church of the Nazarene has been hit especially hard.

"In recent days, wildfires have become a significant threat to the livelihood of our fellow Oklahomans and Nazarene peers in Western Oklahoma," Norman Community Church of the Nazarene wrote on its Facebook page. "The town of Vici has been under threat for over a week now. More than 250,000 acres have been lost, and more than 30 homes and countless other structures, livestock and property have been affected. Members of the Vici Church of the Nazarene have lost property and homes as well. The fires and hotspots are still active today, with no sign of relief from wind or drought conditions. People are tired, fearful, uncertain and some desperate."

The National Weather Service has marked the fires extremely critical, the worst classification the agency gives. In certain areas, the fire is spreading up to a mile every 8 to 12 minutes and is only around 15 percent contained.

"We've got historic conditions as far as fire," said Matt Lehenbauer, emergency management director for Woodward County, Oklahoma. "We haven't seen these kinds of conditions in a decade."

The communities are hoping for relief soon as local weather forecasts show rain and thunderstorm chances will increase starting this weekend.

"A storm system moving through Friday afternoon and into the evening is expected to bring beneficial rain to the area," NewsOK reported. "A high probability of precipitation is forecast for the area from Friday night through Sunday morning."

Prayer is requested for Vici Church of the Nazarene and other Oklahoma residents facing the wildfires.

Editor's Note: As of 24 April 9:30 A.M., NewsOK reported that the Oklahoma wildfires are almost under control with the two main wildfires being 98 and 87 percent contained, respectively. 

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