Wildfires keep firefighters busy

Grassfire blamed for fire at OKC church, threatens homes across several states.

BALTIMORE | March 8, 2009

Dozens of wildfires across southern states kept firefighters busy Saturday and Sunday.

In North Carolina, more than a dozen fires burned in the western part of the state Saturday. According to Carolyn Dawson of the North Carolina Forest Service, most of the fires were started by burning debris.

Four separate wildfires threatened homes Saturday in Volusia County, FL, as emergency officials across the state warned about the potential danger from more wildfires as gusty winds were forecast for Sunday.

A fire near Daytona Beach was still burning in dense woods Saturday night despite attempts to contain it by dropping water. Although the fire was not threatening any homes Saturday night, firefighters said they were worried that embers from the fire could spread it to an area that includes a number of homes and apartment complexes.

In Texas and Oklahoma, fires were reported in both states. A grassfire in Northeastern Oklahoma City gutted the sanctuary of the Collins Community AME Church Friday.

Meanwhile in California, an arsonist blamed for deadly 2006 wildfires that scorched 16,000 acres and burned 34 homes in Esparanza. was convicted of murder in the deaths of five firefighters. Raymond Lee Oyler could face the death penalty.

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