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Agricultural News

Rhea Fire Complex in Dewey County Containment Increased to 15 Percent, Up From Three Percent

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:58:01 CDT

Rhea Fire Complex in Dewey County Containment Increased to 15 Percent, Up From Three Percent Oklahoma Forestry Services released the latest status update on the Rhea Fire Complex in Dewey County. Read the report detailing the agency's progress in advancing the containment of the fire, below.

Current Fire Situation: Yesterday’s acreage—283,095 acres—is the most recent estimate available. An infrared flight scheduled for later this morning will provide an updated acreage estimate, which will be posted on Facebook and Inciweb. Containment is currently 15 percent.

The northeast side of the fire—southeast of Seiling and east of US Hwy 270—was the most active area yesterday as strong, persistent winds caused pockets of smoldering vegetation to reignite and further consume the very dry vegetation. Burning cedar trees have been contributing to the fire’s growth by sending wind-borne embers far ahead of the main fire, igniting unburned vegetation. Crews working on the northeast tip of the fire conducted a small firing operation south from County Road 2380. The tactic was used to “tie in” the fireline north of an inaccessible drainage thick with cedar. The burned area will serve as a buffer, reducing the likelihood of embers crossing the fireline into unburned vegetation. Westerly winds allowed crews on the fire’s west side to increase fireline containment between Camargo and Leedey and east of Vici. Crews are mopping up fireline along the minimally active fire perimeter between Leedey and Thomas, including the communities of Putnam and Taloga. Night-shift crews patrolled, monitored, and further secured firelines south of Vici and southeast of Seiling. They extinguished hotspots and ensured that firelines were cold around structures.

Today’s priority is to reinforce existing firelines and increase containment, particularly in the pocket on the southwest corner north of State Hwy 47, the northwest corner east of Vici, and the northeast corner east of Hwy 270. Numerous and varied aircraft are supporting the fire-suppression effort through water and retardant drops and reconnaissance and infrared flights. Clear skies again today will allow aerial operations to fully assist firefighters on the ground. An infrared flight later this morning will show fire managers where sources of heat remain near the fire’s perimeter. Firefighters will use the GPS coordinates to locate and thoroughly extinguish the hotspots.

There are 214 personnel with the Southern States Type 1 Incident Management Team working alongside numerous state and local resources. Since Friday, the day after the fire started, the Oklahoma National Guard has also been providing logistical support to the fire-suppression effort.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Weather conditions today are expected to be significantly more moderate than the last two days. The maximum temperature will be in the mid-60s with a minimum relative humidity in the mid-20-percent range. East winds will be relatively light, 5–10 mph, and gusts will be light and infrequent.

i.e., black fire perimeter lines representing containment

Evacuations and Road Closures:

No communities are currently under evacuation orders. Because evacuations can be issued and rescinded quickly based on rapidly changing fire behavior, residents should contact their county sheriff’s department with evacuation inquiries.

-             Blaine County: 580-623-5111

-             Custer County: 580-323-1616

-             Dewey County: 580-328-5580

-             Woodward County: 580-256-3264

Evacuation Shelters:

-             Blaine County: Canton Old Gymnasium, 205 North Jefferson Street, Canton. Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe managed, Red Cross supported. Information: Annie Walker, 405-626-8661.

-             Dewey County: First Baptist Church, 301 North Noble Avenue, Watonga. Independently managed, Red Cross supported. Information: 580-623-5158.

-             Dewey County: Vici Chamber Building, 107 East Broadway, Vici. Independently managed.

-             Major County: Fairview Community Center, 206 East Broadway, Fairview. Independently managed.

Burn Ban:

The governor’s office has issued a burn ban for thirty-six counties in western and central Oklahoma, including the four that are affected by the Rhea Fire. Click here.

Temporary Flight Restriction:

A temporary flight restriction, here, is in effect over the fire area. Media requests to fly can likely be accommodated. Call 863-610-0096 to talk to the incident air operations director prior to flying.

Citizen Damage Survey—Oklahoma Emergency Management (OEM):

Residents who have experienced property damage as a result of the Rhea Fire can submit that information to OEM through an online survey, here. The survey is not an application for or guarantee of assistance, but information obtained from the survey will be used by OEM, in coordination with volunteer agencies, to increase the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts.

Source - Oklahoma Forestry Services



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