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OK grass fires burn 30 homes

Grass fires burned at least 30 homes Wednesday evening near Meridian, Okla., reported emergency management officials.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | March 1, 2006

Grass fires burned at least 30 homes Wednesday evening in southwestern Oklahoma's Stephens County, reported emergency management officials. Up to 60 homes may have been lost.

The small community of Loco was nearly destroyed, and homes in Duncan were lost as well.

A nursing home, as well as several schools and businesses, were evacuated, and two firefighters were injured.

Several faith-based disaster response groups reported their local contacts were assessing damages.

Oklahoma has seen lingering drought and unusually warm weather.

Residents who sustained damage to their homes and businesses on Wednesday can apply for state and federal disaster assistance. A presidential disaster declaration was issued for many areas of the state in the wake of wildfires that started Nov. 27.

The federal disaster declaration was left open so residents with damage from Wednesday's wildfire are eligible for individual assistance in 26 Oklahoma counties.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management will complete new assessments identifying the number of homes destroyed and damaged in this latest round of wildfires.

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