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Containment of Rhea and 34 Complex Fires Continues to Inch Higher- Here is Latest From Oklahoma Forestry Services

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 18:35:45 CDT

Containment of Rhea and 34 Complex Fires Continues to Inch Higher- Here is Latest From Oklahoma Forestry Services The Oklahoma Forestry Services has released summaries of the work going on with both the Rhea Fire in primarily Dewey County as well as the 34 Complex Fire in Woodward County.

According to officials- the Rhea Fire is slightly smaller than earlier thought- now at 288,694 acres and is currently 29% contained. The 34 Complex Fire remains at 62,889 acres and is 65% contained,.

The Rhea Fire Summary for Saturday, April 21, 2018

The fire—at 288,694 acres—did not grow significantly Friday. The decrease from yesterday’s reported acreage is due to more accurate mapping. Containment increased to 29 percent as a result of the night- and day-shift crews’ well coordinated work Friday. Crews were able to make further headway as windy, gusty conditions did not lead to as much fire activity as was anticipated. Some areas of the fire were moderately active. However, sufficient numbers of firefighters were staffing the large perimeter and quickly responded to and suppressed flareups. The inaccessible cedar-filled canyon on the fire’s northwest side, south of Vici, that crews have been vigilantly monitoring and working indirectly, crossed the fireline Friday afternoon. They contained the one-tenth acre slopover and had it completely mopped up by the end of shift, holding the fire east of State Highway 34.

The cedar thickets along Pee-Wee Road, south of Seiling, that flared up during the night shift, were also active during the day. Aircraft assisted firefighters on the ground with numerous water drops and the fireline was not compromised.


Today firefighters will be stationed around the fire perimeter, patrolling and monitoring and mopping up as weather conditions allow.
Local Oklahoma Emergency Management crews and equipment demobed from the incident Friday for some much-needed rest before they return to their initial-attack responsibilities on their home units. Southern States Incident Management Team is very appreciative of their assistance in the fire- suppression effort. Incident personnel—259 total—continue to work alongside remaining local and state resources, including the Oklahoma National Guard.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Widespread rain moved into western Oklahoma overnight, dropping an average of one-half inch of rain on the fire. The area could receive another quarter inch this afternoon. Cloud-to-ground lightning and erratic winds might accompany the rain, but severe weather is not forecasted to be part of this weather system. The maximum temperature will be in the mid 50s with a minimum humidity near 80 percent. Northwest winds will be 8–13 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.

Also released on Saturday afternoon- here is the latest on the 34 Complex fire that has been burning in Woodward County:

Today’s Actions: Night shift continued patrolling 34 Complex firelines last night. This was the last night shift as fire conditions have improved to the point that there is no longer a need for it. The Engines that had served on night shift will assist operations on the Rhea Fire. Day shift crews will continue to patrol and mop up any hot spots and will continue to reinforce firelines. There were no new initial attacks yesterday. Contingency resources continue to be available to respond with Oklahoma Forestry Services and local fire departments as needed. The key safety message to firefighters today is: In changing weather conditions, have a plan for staying safe on the fireline in the event of thunderstorms over the 34 Complex Fire.

Incident Resources: 193 total personnel, 17 fire engines, 1 twenty person handcrew, 2 dozers. Oklahoma Forestry Services provides helicopters and fixed wing aircraft air support. Personnel managed by cooperators and agencies under the unified command are still very much involved in firefighting in northwest Oklahoma, however, those personnel are not included in the above numbers.

Fire Size: 62,089 acres, 65% contained. The decrease in size of the fire from past reports is due to more accurate mapping with specialized equipment on the ground and in the air over the fire area.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Last night from ¾ to 1” rain was deposited over the 34 Complex fire and surrounding area. The frontal system will pass through on Saturday with lingering showers and storms in the area for the morning. By afternoon much of the precipitation will exit the area, but some scattered showers will linger with less than a possible 0.10 inch rainfall. Temperatures: lows of 40 to 45, highs of 55 to 60. Cool conditions with some easterly winds through the day gusting up to 30 mph at times. Fire behavior: Areas of remaining heat may continue to smolder especially in heavy fuels that are sheltered under tree and brush canopies. Red Flag Threat Index for Today: “0, zero, nil” (worthy of note because of extreme fire conditions just days ago for the 34 Complex Fire)

TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction): Currently there is no TFR for the 34 Complex fire.

Burning Restrictions: Western Oklahoma including the fire area is currently under a Governors Burn Ban.
See for statewide burn bans

Hay and Livestock Feed: Critical needs in this drought affected area
To help with hay and livestock feed, please contact: OSU Extension at 405-590-0160, 405-496-9329, or 405-397-7912
Other ways to help: Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation   www.okcattlemen.org
Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Foundation www.okfarmingandranching.org
Oklahoma Farmers Union Foundation   PO Box 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124

The 34 Complex fire started on April 12, as three fires in Woodward and Harper Counties subsequently burned together as a result of high winds and low humidity. The wind-driven fires burned rapidly through tall grass and brush that had been affected by extended drought conditions in this region of Oklahoma. Initial response to the fires came from Oklahoma Forestry Services and local firefighting resources including counties across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. As the fires merged and continued to grow, Oklahoma Forestry Services ordered a National Type 2 Incident Management Team, the Southern Area Gold Team, to join Unified Command and provide management support to local and state firefighters for the 34 Complex fire. National Incident Management Teams have access to wildland firefighting resources from across the nation thereby providing much needed relief to local wildland firefighters.


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