Fire Danger Ramps Up Tuesday on Northwest Side of I-44Mon, 04 Apr 2016 21:35:05 CDT
Much of eastern Oklahoma received rainfall last week which has enhanced the green up in wildland fuels. Unfortunately, very little, if any, precipitation has been received west of the I-44 corridor which will allow high to extreme fire danger to persist. Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) reports that most of western Oklahoma has not seen rainfall in seven days with sizeable areas in excess of 25 days since significant moisture. According to Oklahoma Mesonet data, Roger Mills and Cimarron counties are in excess of 100 days without precipitation, resulting in ongoing fire danger.
A roller-coaster of fire danger will be present all week, stated OFS Fire Management Chief Mark Goeller. The current weather forecast for the northwest one-half of Oklahoma will cause fire danger each day to bounce between high and extreme.
On Tuesday, the Panhandle and twenty-four additional counties in western Oklahoma will fall under a Red Flag Warning. In addition, a high wind advisory has been issued for roughly the western one-half of Oklahoma. The expected warm temperatures and low relative humidity over the next few days will keep wildland fuels dry and very vulnerable to wildfire.
Extreme fire weather is expected Tuesday northwest of the I-44 corridor from Tillman County to Tulsa County. Any new wildfire starts over the next few days have the potential to exhibit extreme fire behavior including very rapid rates of fire spread and potential for medium range spotting.
In the warned area, temperatures will climb to as high as 90 degrees under sunny skies with relative humidity in the low teens to single digits. Strong south to southwest winds sustained at 30 mph, gusting to 50 mph will have an abrupt wind shift to the northwest. These weather conditions pose a dangerous situation for firefighters on the ground battling any blazes. Please avoid areas where smoke and fires are occurring in an effort to provide quick access to responding incident personnel.
The Anderson Creek Fire remains at 95% contained and is now approximately 367,730 acres. The increase in acreage is due to a burn out operation conducted within the control lines. Firefighters continue to mop-up hotspots and monitor the fire by ground patrol.
Citizens are urged to report any smoke or fires to their nearest fire department. It only takes a spark to start a wildfire.
Beaver, Harper, Cimarron and Texas counties have issued county burn bans. For the most current information on burn bans, click here.
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