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Residences Cleared as Fire Threatens Oklahoma City (Aug 30, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Police have ordered residents from dozens of homes in Oklahoma City as a spectacular wildfire pushed by 25 mph wind gusts threatened part of the city.

Bursts of flame rose amid thick black smoke as oil-packed cedar trees ignited Tuesday, giving gawkers a stunning view even from blocks away. Utility poles lit up like matchsticks, and power was out to more than 7,000 homes and businesses.

The fire destroyed two homes. Fire Chief Keith Bryant says residents in a 2-square-mile area have been told to leave their homes. Others nearby were advised to stay alert. School children on buses home were diverted to an elementary school set up as an emergency shelter.

A near unrelenting heat wave this summer made conditions ripe for grass fires.

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