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Latest Fire Situation Report for March 28 Shows No Active Burn Bans, but Strong Fire Weather

Mon, 29 Mar 2021 09:50:13 CDT

Latest Fire Situation Report for March 28 Shows No Active Burn Bans, but Strong Fire Weather Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry


NE Area – 2 Fires Burned 160 Acres (Cause: 1-Escaped Debris, 1-Incendiary)
EC Area – 5 Fires Burned 155.5 Acres (Cause: 1-Escaped Debris, 1-Escaped Control Burn, 3-Incendiary)
SE Area – 9 Fires Burned 149.6 Acres (Cause: 9-Incendiary)
Large / Significant Fire Activity within the OFS Protection Area: No New Activity
Fire Activity with OFS Response outside of the Protection Area: No New Activity
OFS Prescribed Fire Activity: 4 Rx Fires Treating 1,574 Acres

FIRE DEPARTMENT STATISTICS from www.firereporting.ok.gov reported March 27, 2021
• Light Initial Attack Activity Observed – Additional Activity Noted Through Unofficial Reporting and Media
• 3 Fires Burned 365 Acres

Statewide Discussion: Strong fire weather will test fuels today in the prefrontal fire environment as a cold front approaches Oklahoma entering the Panhandle/Northwest in the early morning hours on Tuesday. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for a large area of Oklahoma today – generally along, north and west of I-44. Dry conditions will prevail across the state today with above normal temperatures and much stronger wilds in previous days. Initial attack activity is expected to increase today with potential for large fire activity (>300 acres) especially in dormant grass-dominated fuels although probability of significant fire occurrence is rather low outside of the Panhandle and northwestern Oklahoma given current composite fuel moisture. Of note, numerous prescribed fires and controlled burns were conducted over the weekend which will require a thorough check today insuring integrity of control lines. Today: Red Flag Warning in effect along, north and west of I-44 from 11:00 AM through 8:00 PM. Critical fire weather will develop midday persisting into the evening hours in the warned area while elevated fire weather conditions are expected statewide. Above normal temperatures, very dry air and stout pre-frontal winds will support potential for rapid to extreme rates of fire spread in dormant rangeland fuels. Cool season grasses and forbs have broken dormancy across most of the state, especially in the southern and eastern counties where grazed pastures and roadsides will serve as a break in the fuelscape. In areas further north and west, initial cool-season green up is delayed although most wheat fields will not support active fire behavior.

• Oklahoma Panhandle / Northwest Oklahoma – Marginal overnight moisture recovery will facilitate a much earlier transition to very receptive dormant fine fuels today. Above normal temperatures (80°-87°) in an unstable atmosphere with clear skies and afternoon relative humidity values 7-21% will translate into fine-dead fuel moisture values 3-4% with some localized 2% observations in the western Panhandle. Southwest winds sustained 22-32 mph with gusts 35-50 mph will support potential for very rapid to extreme rates of fire spread. Rangeland fuels during peak burning conditions will have potential to exhibit head fire rates of spread 270-375 ft./min. (3.0-4.2 mph) with head fire flame lengths 15-20 ft. Problematic fire behavior should be anticipated including single and group tree torching as well as short range spotting. Projected cold front timing places the clockwise wind shift from southwest to northerly in the early morning hours around 1:00 AM in the Panhandle and 2:00 AM in northwest Oklahoma. Winds remain around 20 mph although gusts do diminish.

• Western/Northern Oklahoma - Along and north of I-44 in the Warned Area, temperatures will register 74°-82° under clear skies with afternoon relative humidity values 14% (far southwest) to 25% (northeast) yielding very receptive fine-dead fuel moisture values at 3-4%. Many grazed pastures, roadsides and lower areas have transitioned to cool-season green up which will serve to offer fire suppression opportunity although dormant rangeland and timber fuels will support very active fire behavior. South winds sustained 20-30 mph with gusts around 35 mph at times will support rapid to extreme rates of fire spread. Grass dominated, dormant fuels will support head fire rates of spread 230-350 ft./min. (2.6-3.8 mph) and flame lengths 15-25 ft. reserving the highest rates of spread for the heavier grass loading in the Flint Hills area in northern Oklahoma. Problematic fire behavior including short range spotting and single tree torching should be anticipated.

• South of I-44 - Outside of the Warned Area, elevated fire weather will develop this afternoon although numerous areas of cool-season green up will offer breaks in the fuelscape and fire suppression opportunities. Afternoon relative humidity values will generally range from 22-30% as temperatures warm into the mid- to upper-70°’s under clear skies delivering widespread fine-dead fuel moisture observations at 5%. South winds sustained 11-22 mph with gusts 25-32 mph will support rates of spread in grass-dominated fuels 152-207 ft./min. (+/- 2.0 mph) with head fire flame lengths 15-19 ft.. In timber-litter fuels, ROS 23-33 ft./min. with head fire flame lengths 5-9 ft. Tuesday: In the wake of the cold front, temperatures will be noticeably cooler with temperatures in the mid-50°’s northwest and some rain chances will be present southeast as the front moves through Oklahoma. Relative humidity will also be improved somewhat and fuels will not be quite as receptive as what develops today. North winds will north of I-44 are forecasted to be sustained around 20 mph with higher gusts. Fire danger will be reduced, although high fire danger indices will again develop. Near-Term Outlook: Breezy conditions are expected to persist through the week, and other than the chances of rain on Tuesday in southeast Oklahoma, dry conditions are expected. Fire danger is expected to again increase late week although not nearly as worrisome as today.

Special Note to Firefighters:
A quick glance at soil moisture following recent rains reveals both good news and bad news… For the good news, adequate soil moisture is in place to support improving green-up across much of Oklahoma given some of the warmer temperatures lately. The bad news, areas of dormant fuels will still support very active fire behavior and soils are very wet to saturated limiting access for firefighting equipment including engines and heavy equipment. Firefighters are strongly encouraged to scout access and plan the attack prior to committing equipment off-road. In many areas, cool-season green up will offer fire suppression opportunities that can be incorporated into successful initial attack actions.



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