Whipping winds sent Stephens County firefighters scrambling Friday evening as Marlow residents were reportedly evacuated from their homes.
A fire first thought out Thursday evening rekindled and sent first responders racing Friday evening to a fire south of Marlow.
The fire rekindled around noon but really kicked up its intensity around 5 p.m. near the city pool. The escalation caused Marlow police to close down westbound traffic at Caddo and 11th Streets as city firefighters began battle. At the time, the fire was not threatening any structures. In a matter of a wind shift, things reportedly changed. Flames began to spread quickly behind the old Wal-Mart store on the east side of U.S. 81 and prompted a mutual aid request from other fire departments.
Evacuations were conducted in a Marlow neighborhood because of the wildfire. Shortly after 6 p.m., Marlow Police Chief Jimmy Williams said that the evacuations were requested strictly for safety reasons. The evacuations were in the area from McKinley Road east to Ninth Street on Caddo.
Williams reported that the sudden increase of winds around 5:30 p.m. kicked the fire into high speed and caused it to move south and east.
The Stephens County Sheriff's Incident Command unit established a command post to support and coordinate the firefighting effort from Blackburn Road and Railroad south of Marlow. Sheriff Wayne McKinney said that traffic south of Marlow on U.S. 81 was shut down because of the fire on Blackburn Road. He said there was more than one active fire and structures were endangered.