Fire Situation Report – March 20, 2017

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry - Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS* for Reporting Period 0800 thru 0800, 03/19/17 thru 03/20/17 

NE Area – 25 fires reported, 1933 acres (19 incendiary, 1789 acres; 4 escaped prescribed fire, 128 acres; 1 fireworks, 8 acres; 1 miscellaneous, 8 acres)

EC Area – 10 fires reported, 1748 acres (7 incendiary 1598 acres; 1 debris burning, 90 acres; 2 escaped control burn/prescribed fire, 60 acres)

SE Area – 3 fires reported, 133 acres (1 debris 30 acres; 2 incendiary, 103 acres)

Large Fire Activity within the Protection Area:

Buckhorn Fire (Latimer) Estimated at 110 acres.

North Sardis Lake Fire (Latimer) Estimated at 370 acres.

Lukins Ridge Fire (Delaware) Estimated at 600 acres.

Scratch Out Fire (Sequoyah) Estimated at 120 acres.

South Camp Fire (Sequoyah) Estimated at 450 acres.

OFS Prescribed Fire Activity: No Activity

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

Fire Activity with OFS Response outside the Protection Area: 

Northwest Oklahoma Complex – This Complex is being managed under Unified Command with the Southern Region Red Team (Type 1 IMT with Mike Dueitt, Incident Commander) and Woodward, Buffalo, Laverne, Slapout, Moorland, Rosston and Beaver Fire Departments. The Complex is currently at 94% containment. Numerous OFS overhead, heavy equipment, Type 6 Engines and aircraft are assigned to the complex to assist local fire departments with the control efforts. Other state forestry resources from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee are committed to the firefighting effort. An Incident Command Post (ICP) is established at the Woodward County Fairgrounds to facilitate briefings, resource assignments and ordering. The fire area will still see “Elevated” or “Near Critical” fire weather conditions. A cold front should sag through the area by late morning swinging the winds around to the north later in the day. Resources will continue working existing control lines and mopping-up hot spots to strengthen the fires’ perimeter. An Initial Attack Module has been identified to provide a rapid response to any new starts within the protection area. Utility companies have started to replace power poles and lines damaged by the fire. There were no changes in fire perimeters during the previous burning period.

Starbuck (Beaver and Harper County) – 662,687 acres total (464,308 acres in Kansas and 198,379 acres in Oklahoma). Near the Oklahoma communities of Buffalo, Knowles, Gate, Rosston and Laverne. Numerous residences, secondary structures, livestock and other infrastructure lost. Damage assessments are on-going.

Selman (Harper and Woodward County) – 47,289 acres, located approximately 10 miles north of Woodward. No estimate on residences or secondary structures lost. Damage assessments are on-going.

283 Fire (Harper County) – 69,395 acres, located near the communities of Rosston, Laverne and May. Damage assessments are on-going.

Beaver Fire (Beaver County) – 2,962 acres, located between Beaver and Elmwood along highway 273. Damage assessments on-going.

980 Fire (Lincoln County) – 8-miles south of Wellston, estimated at 47 acres. OFS personnel assisted Jacktown VFD. 100% contained.

Sooner Rock (Murray) – no estimate of acres. OFS personnel responded.

Statewide Discussion: 

Panhandle: Fire weather conditions are expected to reach “Elevated” to “Near Critical” levels today. Forecasts call for dry conditions with temperatures above normal. Winds will initially be from the south, but with the passage of a cold front they will switch around to the north. Winds will be lighter than the past couple of days averaging 10-15 mph gusting to 20 mph. Relative humidity could reach minimum values of 10-15%. Tuesday should see lower temperatures and higher humidity. Rapid initial attack will be important in keeping fires small. All new starts have the potential to exceed initial attack on any new start that grow to 10+ acres.

 Western/West Central: “Elevated” to “Near Critical” fire danger conditions continue today. High and possibly near record temperatures are expected with relative humidity value ranges of 15-25%. Winds will be southerly 15-20 mpg with gusts up to 25 mph. A cold front is forecast to sag through the area on Tuesday bringing northerly winds to the area. Rapid, coordinated Initial Attack will help keep new fire starts small.

Central/East Central/

Eastern: Elevated” to “Near Critical” fire danger conditions continue today. High and near-record temperatures are expected with relative humidity values staying in the 30% range. Extremely dry fuel conditions, coupled with winds gusting to 30 mph and temperatures in the low 90’s will create conditions for very rapid fire spread, extended flame lengths and near complete fuel consumption. These conditions are compounded for counties NW of Interstate 44 due to extremely low fuel moistures. A cold front should pass through the area on Tuesday moderating temperatures and lowering wind speeds. There is a slight chance of rain and thunderstorms.

It has been 30+ days since some areas have experienced wetting rain. All fuel classifications continue to drop to critical levels. Light (1-hour timelag) fuels have been calculated at 3% and heavy (1000-hour timelag) fuels have reached single digits in many areas. Expect any fire that starts today to burn with very high intensities and rates of spread. Spread rates could exceed 300 feet per minute (one football field) with flame lengths in excess of 20 feet. Highest spread rates will be experienced where terrain and winds align and where RH values fall below 20%. Firefighters should always be aware of changing weather conditions. Expect good nighttime humidity recoveries.

Four common denominators of fire behavior on tragedy fires:

  • On relatively small fires or deceptively quiet areas of large fires.
  • In relatively light fuels, such as grass and light brush.
  • When there is an unexpected shift in wind direction or wind speed.
  • 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.

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

  • OFS Engine/Dozer Task Forces on stand-by
  • National Guard Helicopter available, but limited
  • County Wildland Task Force Resources should assess availability for mobilization
  • Air Attack located at Guthrie, Bartlesville, Ardmore
  • Single Engine Airtankers (SEAT’s) located at Woodward and Bartlesville
  • Super Scooper Airtankers (CL-415) located at Burns Flat
  • Heavy Air Tanker (BAE-146) located at Ardmore
  • Heavy Lift Helicopters located at Stillwater, Guthrie, Shawnee and Ardmore

Numerous County Burn Bans are in effect.  For the most current information on Burn Bans click on the following link: