A number of homes and businesses have been destroyed and several people have been treated for smoke inhalation following a wildfire outbreak in Beaver County in the Oklahoma Panhandle this weekend. The fires were first spotted by a NASA satellite just after 10.00 am on the morning of Saturday 7 March 2020, prompting authorities in the state to order evacuations of the towns of Beaver and Fogan. A number of properties are reported to have been subsequently burned in both towns, with firefighters from Oklahoma and Kansas trying to tackle the blaze, which at the end of Saturday was estimated to have burned 53 km² of vegetation and property and to be only 10% under control.
A house burning in the town of Beaver, Oklahoma, during a wildfire outbreak on 7 March 2020. Cody Rehder/Oklahoma Highway Patrol/Twitter.
Brush fires are common events across much of the southern United States, where long dry periods are often accompanied by high winds, providing the fires with both fuel and the means to spread quickly. As with many other hot-weather related phenomena there is currently serious concern that such fires might become more common in a warming climate, particularly given the recent extreme fire events in Australia.
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