Strong Winds Blow Red Flag Warning Up Across 44 Counties of OklahomaMon, 21 Mar 2016 16:17:56 CDT
Oklahoma Forestry Services is alerting the public to a Red Flag Warning covering 44 counties today, with extreme fire weather expected through Wednesday. Areas of greatest concern are counties north and west of a line stretching from Delaware to Tillman counties.
Warm temperatures and very dry air will result in low fuel moisture this afternoon making any fire that starts very difficult to control. South to southwest winds sustained at 15-25 mph, gusting at times to 30-40 mph, means that there is potential for extreme rates of fire spread.
"These conditions are predicted to build through mid-week. A Fire Weather Watch is in effect through Wednesday evening," said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. "We are urging people not to do any outdoor burning or other activity that might spark a blaze through Wednesday. We also ask that you report any fire or smoke you see to your nearest fire department. Time is of the essence with the present and predicted fire danger as any new fire will spread rapidly."
In advance of the weather event, Oklahoma Forestry Services is coordinating state and federal wildland fire resources 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 Force resources and firefighting personnel are prepositioned in central and western Oklahoma. Fixed-wing aircraft and Oklahoma National Guard helicopters are also prepared for response.
A county burn ban is in place in Harper and Cimarron counties. Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state's lead agency related to wildland fire prevention, protection and use. For additional information about wildfires, visit the Wildfire webpage for the Oklahoma Forestries Service.
The National Weather service has a national map that shows warnings and watches- and it is currently showing a large part of Oklahoma, Kansas, the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico and southeastern Colorado with Red Flag warnings.
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