Fire Situation Report – March 5, 2012

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS* for Time Period 0800 thru 0800, 03/02/12 thru 03/05/12

NE Area – 30 fires burned 2,708 acres (Causes: 23-Incendiary; 4-Escaped Prescribed Burn; 3-Esc. Debris Burn) with one residence lost valued at $60,000 and two outbuildings lost valued at $5,000.

EC Area – 11 fires burned 2,305 acres (Causes: 9-Incendiary; 2-Escaped Prescribed Burn)

SE Area – 7 fires burned 138 acres (Causes: 6-Incendiary; 1-Escaped Debris Burn)

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

Soldier Hollow (Delaware County) – This incendiary-caused wildfire occurred Sunday in the Spavinaw Wildlife Refuge six miles southwest of Jay. Five Oklahoma Forestry Services firefighters from the Jay District equipped with two Type 6 Engines and two Type 3 Dozers contained this fire that burned 750 acres.

Shale Pit (Sequoyah County) – Five firefighters from the Oklahoma Forestry Services’ Northeast Area equipped with two Type 6 Engines and two Type 3 Dozers, eight firefighters from the Cherokee Nation equipped with four Type 6 Engines and fourteen personnel from three fire departments were committed to the extinguishment of this incendiary-caused wildfire. The fire occurred fourteen miles northeast of Muldrow and burned 350 acres.

Soap Mountain (Adair County) – One Type 3 Dozer and one Type 6 Engine with three firefighters from the Forestry Services’ Northeast Area and four Cherokee Nation Engines with 10 firefighters extinguished this incendiary-caused wildfire that burned 115 acres five miles south of Stilwell.

Big County (Sequoyah County) – Four hundred acres burned eleven miles northeast of Muldrow as a result of an escaped prescribed burn. One Type 6 Engine, one Type 3 Dozer, and three firefighters from the Forestry Services’ Northeast Area and three Cherokee Nation Type 6 Engines with six firefighters controlled this wildfire that occurred on Sunday.

Dry Creek (Sequoyah County) – The Oklahoma Forestry Services’ Northeast Area committed two Type 6 Engines, two Type 3 Dozers and four firefighters to extinguish this incendiary-caused wildfire that burned 200 acres eleven miles north of Sallisaw.

Round Mountain (Adair County) – This incendiary-caused wildfire burned 230 acres in steep, rugged terrain eight miles southeast of Bell. Four Forestry Services firefighters from the Northeast Area equipped with Type 6 Engines and two Type 3 Dozers and three Cherokee Nation Type 6 Engines with eight firefighters controlled this wildfire on Saturday.

South (Adair County) - Four Forestry Services firefighters from the Northeast Area equipped with Type 6 Engines and two Type 3 Dozers and two Cherokee Nation Type 6 Engines with four firefighters contained this incendiary-caused wildfire that burned 300 acres in rugged, forested terrain twelve miles southeast of Stilwell.

Mechanic (Latimer County) – The Forestry Services’ East Central Area committed four firefighters equipped with two Type 6 Engines and two Type 3 Dozers to this wildfire that occurred seven miles south of Wilburton. The fire’s cause has been reported as an escaped prescribed burn.

Red Oak Peak (Latimer County) – Four units (four Type 6 Engines and four Type 3 Dozers) with five firefighters from the Forestry Services’ East Central Area contained this incendiary-caused wildfire early this morning. The wildfire occurred two miles northeast of Red Oak and burned 1,200 acres.

Will Holler (LeFlore County) – This incendiary-caused wildfire occurred Sunday and burned 600 acres one mile south of LeFlore. The Forestry Services’ East Central Area committed four firefighters equipped with two Type 6 Engines and two Type 3 Dozers to the control of this wildfire.

* 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.

FIRE DEPARTMENT STATISTICS** FROM www.firereporting.ok.gov for Time Period 03/02/12 thru 03/05/12

No wildfires reported on the system yesterday

** - These statistics are from Fire Departments that have reported their information on the Oklahoma Forestry Services web-based Fire Reporting System. Totals do not reflect the total acres burned or total number of fires that have occurred in Oklahoma.

Statewide Discussion: Initial attack was heavy during the reporting period. Five requests for State assistance were received during the reporting period:

Yale (Payne County) – An Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a 660-gallon bucket was dispatched to assist the Yale Fire Department on a 200-acre wildfire that occurred on Sunday three miles southeast of Yale. Numerous fire departments and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were committed to the fire. One trailer was destroyed as a result of the blaze. No report has been received as to the fire’s cause.

Bellow Mountain (Haskell County) – The Forestry Services’ committed two firefighters from the East Central Area equipped with one Type 6 Engine and one Type 3 Dozer to the control of this incendiary-caused wildfire that burned 160 acres three miles northeast of Keota.

Three other requests for aerial suppression assistance were not filled. Requests from Coyle and Nelogany were not filled once the Incident Commanders on-scene reported they were able to gain the upper hand on their respective wildfires. The Liberty Fire Department was unable to be filled due to the aircraft on-duty for the day was already committed to another incident at the time of the request.

State assistance has already been requested this morning for two incidents. Liberty Fire Department has requested aviation support and ground resources for a fire burning in the Spanish Peaks area southeast of Tulsa. The Forestry Services’ Southeast Area has dispatched ground resources to a wildfire burning in Marshall County.

Fire Danger today will be very high to extreme across Oklahoma today. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the Oklahoma Panhandle. Southerly winds sustained at 20-30 mph with gusts near and above 40 mph are expected. Relative humidity is expected to drop into the single digits to 15% with temperatures in the 70-80 degree range. For more information about the Red Flag Warning in the Panhandle, click on the following link to the National Weather Service Amarillo Forecast Office: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama/

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for today from Noon to 7 p.m. for the following counties in western Oklahoma: Harper, Woodward, Ellis, Dewey, Roger Mills, Custer, Washita, Beckham, Kiowa, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Tillman, Comanche, and Cotton. Relative humidity is expected to drop into the 10-15% range with southerly winds sustained at 20-30 mph with gusts near and above 40 mph. Temperatures will climb into the 70-80 degree range. For more information concerning the Red Flag Warning, click on the following links to the National Weather Service’s Norman Forecast Office: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/

Dry, very windy and warm conditions will combine to create very high to extreme fire danger in the areas described above and in the area west of a line from Nowata County to Bryan County. Sustained southerly winds from 20-25 mph with gusts near and above 30 mph are forecast with relative humidity expected to drop into the 20% range. Temperatures are forecast to be in the 70-80 degree range. Additional Red Flag Warnings for this area may be issued later in the day should fire weather conditions deteriorate below forecast values.

SPECIAL NOTE TO FIREFIGHTERS: Due to the expected fire weather today, fine, dead fuels this afternoon will ignite easily and allow any fire that starts to spread rapidly. Expect erratic fire behavior including moderate spotting distances and long flame lengths at the head of the fire. Direct attack at the head of the fire today may be impossible. Size up and knowledge of the area where a fire is burning will be one key to success. Plan your firefighting strategy and tactics based on the “next big change” in fuels and/or topography. The fire weather conditions should improve rapidly after sunset with a decrease in fire activity.
SPECIAL NOTE TO THE PUBLIC: Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged in the areas described above due to the forecast for strong winds and low relative humidity. Any fire started could easily escape control and threaten lives and property.

A County Commissioner Burn Ban is in effect for Cimarron and Texas County. Click on the link listed below for the latest and most current Burn Ban information: 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