Fire Dangers Remain Elevated Across OklahomaMon, 05 May 2014 18:11:39 CDT
The record heat will continue for the next couple of days as highs climb into the upper 90s and lower 100s. Worsening drought conditions, combined with strong south winds, will lead to extreme wildfire conditions through at least Wednesday, according to News 9 Meteorologist Lacy Swope.
Following wildfires in Logan County Sunday and Monday, officials with Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry, are urging Oklahomans to be very cautious with any outdoor activity that could spark additional blazes. Residents are urged to report any smoke or fire to the nearest fire department immediately.
OFS earlier in the day established a unified command with fire departments on the Logan County fire near Guthrie. “We have sent dozers and engines on the ground assisting local firefighters,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester, “and our fire operations personnel are coordinating aircraft to assist with efforts on the ground.”
“Crews are working to contain the fires that started yesterday in Logan and Woodward counties, as well as other fires in the eastern part of Oklahoma,” said Geissler. “The weather doesn’t look like it will improve any for the next few days so we hope everyone will remain vigilant with outdoor activities.”
Critical fire weather conditions will remain in place for the next couple of days. A Fire Weather Watch is in effect for the Oklahoma Panhandle and parts of western and central Oklahoma today through Tuesday evening.
Record heat with temperatures ranging from 92 - 103° and relative humidity values in single digits to lower teens will create critically low fuel moistures supporting rapid rates of spread. Any fire occurring today or tomorrow will have potential to grow quickly, exhibit problematic fire behavior and in some cases be difficult to suppress.
Geissler said caution should be exercised with outdoor grilling, welding; many roadside fires are started due to vehicles dragging chains or continuing to drive on a rim after experiencing a flat tire.
Safety of the firefighters and public is of the utmost concern and with this weather forecast one of the main threats for firefighters will be rapid spread of any fire start.
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