A blaze that started on August 2, 2012, scorched areas of Oklahoma and continued for days. The Freedom Hill wildfire in Creek County was the largest area damaged, with approximately 60,000 acres burned. However, thousands of acres also burned in and around Shamrock and Drumright.
Authorities are not announcing a specific number of homes destroyed at this point, though early reports indicated about 70 structures in Creek County have been destroyed from the blaze. As time has gone on, some have speculated over 200 homes in the area may have been destroyed in the wildfire, and other reports believe over 300 homes have been destroyed statewide in the fire.
Officials are having a hard time pinpointing the exact number of structures that have been destroyed by the wildfires statewide, as some areas are still unsafe to reach. However, the American Red Cross has stated that more than 200 families have requested their assistance, and that they have had over 250 overnight stays during the wildfires. Plus, the agency has provided over 32,000 meals across the state during this time.
As students headed back to school, many school districts also felt the seriousness of the wildfires, including the Olive Public School and Mannford Public School districts. According to the Olive Public Schools Superintendent Loren Tackett, officials have counted 160 destroyed structures within their school district.
According to Mannford Public Schools Superintendent Steve Waldvogel, five staff members lost their homes to the Oklahoma wildfires, including a bus driver, cook, teacher, and two teacher’s aides. Additionally, approximately 72 students lost their homes in the wildfires.
These wildfires have left many homeowners and business owners in Oklahoma to file fire insurance claims with their insurance companies to collect for their losses.