Fire Situation Report – August 8, 2011

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

NE Area – 21 fires burned 1,275 acres (Causes: 13-Incendiary; 2-Equipment; 2-Lightning; 1-Children; 1-Debris Burning; 2-Other)

EC Area – 12 fires burned 1,763.2 acres (Causes: 6-Incendiary; 3-Lightning; 2-Equipment; 1-Smoking)

SE Area – 26 fires burned 1,108.7 acres (Causes: 21-Incendiary; 4-Lightning; 1-Equipment)

Several large fires occurred in the Protection Area during the reporting period:

Blue Gate (Pushmataha County) – (Originally listed as the Cloudy Fire on 08/05) This lightning-caused wildfire is located three miles southeast of Cloudy. Three Forestry Services dozers, three Type 6 Engines, and six firefighters from the Southeast Area aided by two timber industry dozers and four fire departments have been committed to this fire that has burned 600 acres.

Black Fork (Pushmataha County) – Four Forestry Services Type 3 dozers, four Type 6 Engines and eight firefighters from the Southeast and East Central Area battled this lightning-caused wildfire that has burned 360 acres in steep, rugged terrain fifteen miles east of Clayton. One timber industry dozer has been committed to the suppression efforts.

Dog Creek (Pushmataha County) – Three Forestry Services dozers, three Type 6 Engines and six firefighters from the Southeast Area with two timber industry dozers suppress this wildfire that burned 250 acres six miles northeast of Rattan.

TNT (McCurtain County) – Three Forestry Services dozers, three Type 6 Engines and six firefighters from the Southeast Area, two Choctaw Nation dozers and Type 6 Engines, one US Forest Service dozer and Type 6 Engine, several timber industry dozers, a Single Engine Air Tanker and a Type 3 Helicopter were committed to this wildfire that burned 1.5 miles east of Hochatown. Numerous homes and commercial cabins were threatened by this incendiary-caused wildfire.

Yancy Mountain (Latimer County) – Twelve Forestry Services dozers, twelve Type 6 Engines and twenty-four firefighters from the East Central Area have been committed to this incident. This incendiary-caused fire is burning three miles north of Wilburton.

Workman Farm (Cherokee County) – Three Forestry Services dozers, three Type 6 Engines and six firefighters from the Northeast Area and several fire departments were required to extinguish this equipment-caused fire that burned 300 acres five miles north of Tahlequah.

Cemetery Hill (Adair County) - Two Forestry Services dozers, two Type 6 Engines and four firefighters from the Northeast Area and several fire departments suppressed this equipment-caused wildfire that burned 120 acres one mile north of Watts.

Dahlonegah (Adair County) – Children is listed as the cause of this wildfire that burned 100 acres five miles south of Stilwell. Two Forestry Services dozers, two Type 6 Engines and four firefighters from the Northeast Area and several fire departments suppressed this wildfire.

Low Gap (Sequoyah County) - Forestry Services committed two Type 6 Engines, three Type 3 Dozers and five firefighters from the Northeast Area to this incendiary-caused wildfire. Several fire departments assisted in the control of this fire that burned 355 acres ten miles north of Sallisaw.

Friend (Ottawa County) – An exploding transformer caused this wildfire that burned 200 acres three miles east of Wyandotte. The Forestry Services Northeast Area committed one Type 2 Dozer, one Type 3 Dozer, two Type 6 Engines and five firefighters to this incident. Several fire departments were also involved in the suppression efforts.

* 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 during the reporting period. Numerous wildfires were very resistant to control due to extremely dry fuels, moderate winds, and low relative humidity. Winds associated with thunderstorms that developed on Saturday and Sunday 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 during the reporting period:

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 burned 650 acres and the cause has been listed as incendiary.

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. No report on acres burned or the cause has been received at the time of this report.

Drumright (Creek County) – On Friday 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.

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 Saturday 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 on Friday. 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 on Saturday. The heavily wooded area, high temperatures and extremely dry fuels hampered suppression efforts. Several homes were reported destroyed on Saturday. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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 on Saturday 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 on Saturday 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 Saturday morning.

Mannford #1 (Creek County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Mannford Fire Department Saturday 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. This fire is part of the Cleveland/Mannford Complex.

Mannford #2 (Creek County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Basin Fire Department on Saturday 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. This fire is part of the Cleveland/Mannford Complex.

Silver City (Creek County) - An order for aerial suppression assistance from the Silver City Fire Department on Saturday 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.

Cleveland #1 (Pawnee County) – On Sunday an Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk was dispatched to assist the North 48 Fire Department on this wildfire that is on-going at the time of this report. Numerous fire departments were committed to this fire that burned an estimated 1,800 acres and numerous homes as of last night. The fire is currently threatening to cross US 412. An Oklahoma Army National Guard helicopter has been dispatched to aid in the suppression efforts. This fire is part of the Cleveland/Mannford Complex.

Cleveland #2 (Pawnee County) – On Sunday an Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk was dispatched to assist the North 48 Fire Department on this wildfire that is on-going at the time of this report. Numerous fire departments were committed to this fire. No estimate on acres burned has been received for this fire. This fire is part of the Cleveland/Mannford Complex.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Monday (August 8th) from Noon to 9 p.m. for the following counties: Grant, Kay, Major, Garfield, Noble, Dewey, Custer, Blaine, Kingfisher, Logan, Payne, Beckham, Washita, Caddo, Canadian, Oklahoma, Lincoln, Grady, McClain, Cleveland, Pottawatomie, Harmon, Greer, Kiowa, Jackson, Tillman, Comanche, Stephens, Garvin, and Cotton. In and near this area expect southwest winds sustained at near 20 mph with higher gusts possible. Relative humidity is forecast to range from 10-20% with temperatures from 107-112. For more information on the Red Flag Warning, visit the National Weather Services Norman Forecast Office website at the following link: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/ A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Monday (August 8th) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the following counties: Pawnee, Washington, Osage, Nowata, Creek, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Wagoner, Tulsa, Rogers, and Mayes. In and near this area expect relative humidity in the 15-25% range, south to southerly winds sustained at 10-20 mph with gusts of 25 mph through the afternoon, and dangerous high temperatures. For more information on the Red Flag Warning, visit the National Weather Services Tulsa Forecast Office website at the following link: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tsa/ Any thunderstorm that develops today in the area of a wildfire has the potential 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. In addition, strong to severe storms in the vicinity of an on-going fire will prevent the use of suppression aircraft.
SPECIAL NOTE TO THE PUBLIC: Over the last few 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