Fire Situation Report – August 7, 2011

Fire Situation Report – August 7, 2011 Update @ 0900 Hours

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS* for Time Period 0800 thru 0800, 08/05/11 thru 08/08/11

Protection Area Statistics not available at the time of this report

* Protection Area Statistics do not reflect local fire department’s fire run information. Statistics are for the ODAFF-Forestry Services’ eighteen county Fire Protection Area in eastern Oklahoma unless otherwise noted in the Discussion section of this report.

Statewide Discussion: Initial attack was heavy on Friday and Saturday. Numerous wildfires were very resistant to control due to extremely dry fuels, moderate winds, and low relative humidity. Winds associated with thunderstorms that developed yesterday afternoon caused several fires to escape control and prevent the use of suppression aircraft. Below is a synopsis of fire activity and requests for assistance received at the time of this report update:

Warner (Muskogee County) – On Friday two Oklahoma Forestry Services Type 3 Dozers, a Type 6 Engine and three firefighters from the East Central Area and an Oklahoma Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter equipped with a 1,320-gallon bucket was dispatched to assist the Warner Fire Department on a wildfire located approximately three miles north of Porum. The aircraft was diverted to the Blanco area before arrival since local forces had stopped the fire spread. The fire’s cause and size was unavailable at the time of this update.

Blanco (Pittsburg County) – On Friday, Oklahoma Forestry Services, an Oklahoma Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter equipped with a 1,320-gallon bucket, and numerous Fire Departments were dispatched early Friday afternoon to control this incendiary-caused wildfire. A report of the number of homes and acres lost to this wildfire that burned two miles south of Blanco.

Deep Fork (Okmulgee County) –The US Fish and Wildlife Service staffed this wildfire with dozers, engines and other ground resources Friday evening. This wildfire continues to burn at the time of this report.

Drumright (Creek County), 08/05 - An Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a 660-gallon bucket was dispatched at the request of the Drumright Fire Department with this wildfire that burned an estimated 800 acres. The number of homes lost has not been confirmed at the time of this report. The fire was been reported to have started as a result of arcing power lines that had sagged from the high daytime temperatures.

Acme (Grady County) – An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Grady County Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. Numerous Fire Departments and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were committed to the incident. The cause of this wildfire has not been reported. The fire crossed containment lines late yesterday afternoon and made a major run. An Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk equipped with a 660-gallon bucket was dispatched late Saturday afternoon to provide assistance. An estimated 1,200-1,500 acres have been burned. This fire is on-going as of 0800 hours on 08/07.

Asher (Pottawatomie County) – Early Friday afternoon, an order for aerial suppression assistance from the Asher Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. However, when an Oklahoma Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook was released from the Blanco Fire it was re-tasked to assist with this wildfire. Several Fire Departments and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are committed to this incident. The fire crossed containment lines late yesterday and made a major run toward State Highway 59. The number of acres burned and structures lost have not been reported. This wildfire continues to burn at the time of this report.

Oolagah (Nowata County) - An order for dozer assistance from the Nowata Fire Department was unable to be filled as all State Forestry Units were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. This fire was burning in steep, timbered terrain adjacent to Oolagah Reservoir. A report of the size and cause of the fire has not been received.

Edmond Creek (Oklahoma County) – This wildfire, which started on August 4th, jumped containment lines yesterday afternoon. An Oklahoma Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter equipped with a 1,320-gallon bucket was dispatched at the request of the Edmond Fire Department. However, the helicopter had to return to base due to severe weather that developed in the area. Several fire departments provided mutual aid on this incident that closed Interstate 35 for a period of time yesterday. The heavily wooded area, high temperatures and extremely dry fuels hampered suppression efforts. The cause of the fire is under investigation. An order for aerial suppression assistance early this morning has been cancelled at the request of the Incident Commander. This wildfire continues to burn at the time of this report.

Sapulpa (Creek County) – On Friday, An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Sapulpa Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. The size and cause of the fire has not been received at the time of this report.

Peach Orchard (Osage County) - Orders for aerial suppression assistance from the Rock Fire Department were unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. This wildfire was burning north of Sand Springs. No report of acres lost or cause was received.

Green Country (Osage County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Green Country Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. Several structures were threatened. The cause and size of this wildfire burning north of Prue has not been received.

Keystone Complex (Creek County) – On Friday, an order for aerial suppression assistance from the Keystone Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. Two Oklahoma Forestry Services units with one Type 2 Dozer, one Type 3 Dozer, two Type 6 Engines and four firefighters arrived late Friday evening to assist. Two residences and several outbuildings were lost to two wildfires that eventually merged into one. On Saturday two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters equipped with 660-gallon buckets were dispatched to provide assistance. Numerous Fire Departments are committed to this incident that had burned 2,129 acres as of late yesterday morning. This wildfire continues to burn at the time of this report.

Mannford #1 (Creek County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Mannford Fire Department yesterday afternoon was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents at the time of the request. This wildfire burning three miles north of Mannford was reported to have burned a number of residences. The fire’s cause and size has not been reported.

Mannford #2 (Creek County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Basin Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents. At the time of the aircraft order, a number of residences were reported to have been lost to this wildfire burning two miles north of Mannford. The fire’s cause and size has not been reported.

Silver City (Creek County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Silver City Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents. Several structures were threatened. The cause and size of this wildfire burning near Silver City has not been received.

Geary (Canadian County) - On Saturday an order for aerial suppression assistance from the Weatherford Fire Department was unable to be filled as all available aircraft were committed to other incidents. The cause and size of this wildfire burning southeast of Geary has not been received.

Guthrie (Logan County) – On Saturday, an order for suppression aircraft was re-evaluated by the Incident Commander and placed on a low priority when initial attack forces were able to gain control of the fire. The cause and size of the fire burning southeast of Guthrie has not been received.

Colony (Washita County) – On Saturday a fast moving wildfire threatened the town of Colony. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, numerous Fire Departments, and several County Wildland Task Forces were committed to the control of this incident. A Lead Plane and two P2V Airtankers were dispatched to assist with this incident. The old Colony School, old School Gymnasium, and several outbuildings in Colony were destroyed. The wildfire has burned an approximately 2,000 acres. The cause has been reported as suspicious.

A Fire Weather Watch is in effect for Monday (August 8th) afternoon thru evening for the following counties: Custer, Blaine, Kingfisher, Logan, Payne, Beckham, Washita, Caddo, Canadian, Oklahoma, Lincoln, Grady, McClain, Cleveland, Harmon, Greer, Kiowa, Jackson, Tillman, and Comanche. In and near this area expect southwest winds sustained from 15-20 mph with possible gusts near 25 mph. Relative humidity is forecast to range from 15-20% with temperatures from 107-110.The threat of thunderstorms will continue to hamper firefighting efforts. Possible new wildfire starts from lightning and downdrafts/out-flow winds that could affect on-going fires will be possible today and tomorrow. In addition, strong to severe storms in the vicinity of an on-going fire will prevent the use of suppression aircraft.
SPECIAL NOTE TO FIREFIGHTERS: Aerial assistance has been delayed several times within the last week due to the requesting department not knowing what radio frequencies are programmed into their radios. In addition, firefighting aircraft are able to communicate ONLY on VHF Frequencies. Take the time to get a list of the frequencies that are programmed into your department’s radios and carry the list in each firefighting and command vehicle. The information needed is:

- Narrow or Wide Band Frequency
- Receive (RX) Frequency
- Receive Code Guard or Tone (RX CG)
- Transmit (TX) Frequency
- Transmit Code Guard or Tone (TX CG)

For clear, unimpeded Air-to-Ground communications choose a frequency that is not the fire’s primary tactical frequency. Also, having a secondary Air-to-Ground frequency will allow some flexibility if communications issues develop on the primary Air-to-Ground choice.

SPECIAL NOTE TO THE PUBLIC: Over the last two days there were reports of several intentionally set fires. These fires, especially during the current conditions, are a serious threat to firefighter and public safety. Please take time to note suspicious activity and report to local law enforcement or by calling the Arson Tip Line (1-866-662-7766) any information which may lead to the capture of any individual(s) intentionally setting fires.

A Governor’s Burn Ban is in effect for the entire State of Oklahoma. For the most current information on Burn Ban click on the following link:

http://www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information

Report any suspicious wildland fire activity on the Arson Tip Line: 1-866-662-7766 (1-866-NO ARSON).

Prepared by: Mark Goeller, Ass’t Director, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry - Forestry Services