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What’s That Smell? North Winds Send Smoke From Kansas Wildfire Into Central Oklahoma

The Anderson Creek fire that started near Alva in Woods County, Oklahoma.
Roy Anderson
Oklahoma Highway Patrol
The Anderson Creek fire that started near Alva in Woods County, Oklahoma.

That smoky odor you may have noticed if you ventured outside early Thursday morning is from a massive wildfire that started Tuesday in Woods County and quickly spread north into Kansas.

So far it's burned nearly 110 square miles, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has declared a state of emergency for several counties in the area.

No injuries or property damage has been reported. The fire started about 25 miles south of Kansas, and dry conditions and yesterday’s strong winds pushed the fire into Kansas. So far it’s burned nearly 72,000 acres.

Map of the Anderson Creek wildfire.
Credit Oklahoma Forestry Services

The small town of Sun City, Kansas was briefly evacuated, according to Sean Sandefur, a reporter at Wichita’s public radio station KMUW:

Barber County Attorney Gayton Wood says south central Kansas has seen fires like this in the past. “We have experienced similar fires of this magnitude, about 5-6 years ago," Wood says. "And then we had a very large fire in 1995.”

On Wednesday Oklahoma Forestry Services established a statewide area command post. The National Weather Service says the fire danger will be near critical Thursday and Friday, but that will taper off when rain chances arrive this weekend.

Oklahoma City fire crews responded to a grassfire Wednesday afternoon near the intersections of Interstates 35 and 44 in northeast Oklahoma City.

There were also fires in northeast Oklahoma.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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