Firefighter Briefing for 04/5/2016


The Fire Weather Forecast holds multiple days of very high to extreme fire danger. Today
presents a significant challenge should any fire become established. Hot temperatures, low
relative humidity and strong gusty winds ahead of a cold front will present a fire environment
that will support rapid rates of spread, erratic fire behavior and potential for medium range
spotting of ¼ mile possible.


Recurrent frost/freeze events and lagging precipitation totals have stalled green up across much of northern and western Oklahoma. Intensifying drought indicators are expected to deepen as live fuels increase evapotranspiration depleting upper soil level moisture.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for a significant portion of Oklahoma west of I-35. Additionally, this is the area of greatest concern given the stalled green up. Please refer to for the latest updates to the fire weather forecast.

Fire Behavior:

Areas of northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle will potentially see fine-dead fuel moisture at 2% for a period tomorrow during the peak of the burning period just prior to the cold front passage. The warned area will see overall fine-dead fuel moisture at 5% or less in most areas. Ag fields have an initial green fuel burst from soil moisture, but much of that advantage for serving as viable fuel breaks may be negligible during the peak of the burning periods.  Anticipated head-fire behavior is as follows:

· Short Grass / Pasture: Maximum of 250-400 ft./min., head fire flame length 5-12 ft.
o Conditions may push short grass fuels to the wind-limit
· Tall Grass / Prairie: 350-500 ft./min. head fire flame length 12-30 ft.
· Grass/Shrub/Redcedar: 100-225+ ft./min, head fire flame length 10-21 ft. average (higher with torching)
· Timber Litter(Forest): 25-80 ft./min., head fire flame length 5-12 ft.

o Probability of Ignition will be at or near 100% in the afternoon hours meaning the potential for spotting will be extremely high. The fuel moisture induced rate of combustion combined with the forecast winds may produce medium range spotting.

Fire Weather and resulting Fire Behavior predictions for tomorrow indicate the frontal assault should be avoided – do not fight the fire at the head. Anchor the fire at advantageous point (road, creek, cold black) and flank the fire if utilizing direct firefighting tactics. Work the fire from the black if possible to provide for quick escape to a safety zone. Avoid placing yourselves in a situation where unburned fuel is between you and the fire. Some fire behavior will likely dictate indirect tactics to be utilized

All firefighters are advised to take particular note of the 10 Standard Fire Orders with specific interest in the first three: (a complete list of the Standard Firefighting Orders below)

1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.
2. Know what your fire is doing at all times.
3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.

· Oklahoma Forestry Services will have Task Forces prepositioned to respond with engines, dozers and overhead personnel.
· OFS will coordinate with OHP to have wildfire operational specialists in the air to assist with fire size-up and operational advice.
· Fixed-wing tanker aircraft are available.
· National Guard helicopters are available
· OFS will have an Air Attack Supervision platform available.
· County Wildland Task Force Resources should be prepared for mobilization.

To request assistance, call the Resource Hotline (800) 800-2481

Be Alert, Keep Calm, Think Clearly, Act Decisively

Firefighting resources are encouraged to review the following Oklahoma Wildland Tailgate issues in preparation:
· Incident Commanders/Task Force Leaders: Expanding Incidents
· Firefighters: Engine Tactics

Oklahoma Wildland Tailgate issues are available at:

Standard Firefighting Orders

  1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.
  2. Know what your fire is doing at all times.
  3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.
  4. Identify escape routes and safety zones and make them known.
  5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.
  6. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.
  7. Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor, and adjoining forces.
  8. Give clear instructions and insure they are understood.
  9. Maintain control of your forces at all times.
  10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.

18 Watchout Situation

  1.  Fire not scouted and sized up.
  2. In country not seen in daylight.
  3. Safety zones and escape routes not identified.
  4. Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior.
  5. Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.
  6. Instructions and assignments not clear.
  7. No communication link with crewmembers/supervisors.
  8. Constructing line without safe anchor point.
  9. Building fireline downhill with fire below.
  10. Attempting frontal assault on fire.
  11. Unburned fuel between you and the fire.
  12. Cannot see main fire, not in contact with anyone who can.
  13. On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.
  14. Weather is getting hotter and drier.
  15. Wind increases and/or changes direction.
  16. Getting frequent spot fires across line.
  17. Terrain and fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.
  18. Taking a nap near the fire line.

Four common denominators of fire behavior on tragedy fires

  1. On relatively small fires or deceptively quiet areas of large fires.
  2. In relatively light fuels, such as grass, herbs, and light brush.
  3. When there is an unexpected shift in wind direction or wind speed.
  4. When fire responds to topographic conditions and runs uphill. Alignment of topography and wind during the burning period should always be considered a trigger point to re-evaluate strategy and tactics.