Extreme Fire Danger Present Across OklahomaTue, 16 Feb 2016 20:39:31 CST
Oklahoma Forestry Services is alerting the public of extreme fire danger that is present across most of Oklahoma.
“The conditions predicted this week have the potential for extreme wildfire behavior,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. “We are urging people not to do any burning. We also ask that you report any fire or smoke you see to your nearest fire department. Time is of the essence under these types of conditions as any new fire will spread rapidly. ”
Low relative humidity, combined with very dry fuels and sustained winds at 15-20 mph, with some gusts possible near 20 mph, are creating the dangerous conditions. Fire danger is expected to increase this week, with Thursday looking to be the most critical day.
“People may be lulled into complacency because we still have moisture in the soil and we aren’t under a drought, but the fuels (grass, leaves and large logs) are very dry,” said George Geissler, State Forester. “This creates a very dangerous fire situation for the public and for the firefighters battling blazes under these conditions. In fact, we are advising firefighters to avoid direct attack tactics which places them in unburned fuels, as safety is our utmost concern.”
In advance of the weather event, OFS is coordinating state and federal wildland fire resources, including air tankers and National Guard helicopters for response if necessary, as well as communicating with Oklahoma Emergency Management and fire departments across the state about the predicted high fire danger. OFS Wildland Task Forces and firefighting personnel are also being staged along the I-35 corridor to be ready for response.
Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead agency related to wildland fire prevention, protection and use. For additional information about wildfires, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/wildfire-information.
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