Oklahoma wildfires wreak havoc; Salvation Army continues response

Wildfires have burned roughly 350,000 acres in Dewey and Woodward counties in western Oklahoma over the past month.

The string of blazes has destroyed nearly 100 homes, hundreds of miles of fencing, an estimated 30,000 head of cattle, hundreds of bales of hay, and a sizable amount of farm equipment and machinery. A State of Emergency remains in effect for 52 Oklahoma counties due to ongoing wildfires and fire conditions.

The Salvation Army is participating in the Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) in Taloga and Woodward at the request of emergency management officials, along with other agencies affiliated with the Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other public agencies. On April 22–23, The Salvation Army was in action at the MARC in Taloga, providing financial assistance, in the form of gift cards, to residents impacted by the fires. A mobile feeding unit (canteen) from The Salvation Army of Enid was deployed to provide lunch, dinner, drinks and snacks to visitors, volunteers and workers at the Taloga MARC.

“During disaster service, we address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people who need us most,” said Steven Hartsook, Arkansas and Oklahoma Divisional Director of Emergency Disaster Services. “A smile, a shoulder, a good meal, or a cold drink. Simple but impactful ways to share the love of Jesus Christ with survivors, volunteers, and first responders.”

Shirley Logue, Divisional Director of Service Extensions, worked The Salvation Army’s booth at the MARC in Taloga. She said a couple of the individuals she worked with were moved to tears by the assistance.

“One lady even asked for our names and the address of the office so she could send a thank you note,” Logue said. “Everyone who came through seemed to be grateful, appreciative to see their neighbors and in overall good spirits considering what they have just gone through.”

The canteen will also be on site at the Woodward Conference Center Friday and Saturday to once again provide food, snacks and hydration to those visiting the MARC. The Salvation Army of Woodward County will also be on hand to provide gift cards to those who have been affected by the wildfires.

The Salvation Army will continue to work with Emergency Management and VOAD.

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