Fire Situation Report – November 25, 2019

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry - Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS 11/24/2019 thru 11/25/2019 

NE Area – 3 Fires Burned 79.2 Acres (Cause: 3-Incendiary)

EC Area – 4 Fires Burned 84.6 Acres (Cause: 3-Incendiary, 1-Equipment)

SE Area – No New Activity

Large / Significant Fire Activity within the Protection Area: No New Activity

Fire Activity with OFS Response outside of the Protection Area:

  • 1 Fire Burned 53 Acres (Cause: 1-Escaped Debris)

OFS Prescribed Fire Activity: No New Activity

FIRE DEPARTMENT STATISTICS from www.firereporting.ok.gov recorded on 11/24/2019 thru 11/25/2019 

  • No New Activity Reported
  • Numerous initial attack fires noted though informal reporting and media outlets

Statewide Discussion: 

A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for counties in western Oklahoma including the Oklahoma Panhandle west of a line from Alfalfa County to Comanche County in advance of the strong potential for Red Flag Warning conditions on Tuesday. A very strong cold front is expected to move across Oklahoma tomorrow producing high wind speeds. The fire environment is expected to be aligned briefly in the afternoon with the front movement facilitating increased opportunity for new fire starts given any ignition source. Strong winds, warmer than average temperature and receptive fine fuels will support increased initial attack activity, localized large fire occurrence and a limited potential for significant fire occurrence.

 Today: Generally light winds shifting to northerly and moderate relative humidity values (25% Panhandle to 40+% eastern Oklahoma) will support moderate fire danger with dormant fine fuels receptive. Fire behavior today should provide excellent opportunity for initial attack success. The important message for today is to ensure that all fire perimeters and potential threats to control lines are thoroughly mopped up prior to the wind event tomorrow.

Tuesday: The highest fire danger concern will reside in western Oklahoma reflected in the Fire Weather Watch graphic above although problematic fire behavior potential exists across much of the state. The approach of a very strong cold front will support high sustained wind speed, warmer than average temperature and low relative humidity values facilitating potential for rapid rates of spread. Given the forecasted winds speeds and potential impacts to infrastructure, new fire starts are likely. Localized large fire occurrence potential exists although probability for significant fire occurrence is limited with Energy Release Component percentile ranking just tapping the 50th percentile.

  • Oklahoma Panhandle: During peak burning conditions temperature will range 43-53 and relative humidity ranging 22-26% yielding fine-dead fuel moisture values of 6% with some areas observing 5%. Some sky cover associated with the frontal boundary may serve to hold those values just above critical thresholds. However, west winds will be stout sustained 35-45 mph with gusts to 65 mph will support rapid rates of fire spread and erratic fire behavior. Rangeland fuels will deliver the potential for rates of fire spread 290-360 ft./min. (3.2-4.0 mph) with flame lengths around 20 ft. at the head fire. Temperature will drop sharply with the frontal passage and winds will shift to the northwest diminishing to 15 mph around 9:00 pm.
  • Western Oklahoma (west of US 81): The strongest winds associated with the approaching front will prevail during the peak of burning conditions in the afternoon hours with temperature 53-68 and relative humidity values 15-25%. Fine-dead fuel moisture observations of 5% with areas of 4% will generate very receptive dormant grass fuels. Southwest to west winds in the afternoon sustained 30-40 mph gusting 55 mph (potential for some 70 mph gusts) will encourage rapid to extreme rates of fire spread and erratic fire behavior. Un-hayed/un-grazed rangeland fuels will have potential to produce rates of fire spread 319-427 ft./min.(3.6-4.8 mph) with head fire flame lengths 20-25 ft. during the peak of burning conditions. Winds will shift to the northwest around 9:00 pm diminishing to around 15 mph by midnight.
  • Central & Eastern Oklahoma: High fire danger indices will be present during the afternoon hours with temperatures in the upper 60’s to low 70’s and relative humidity values 30-40% yielding fine-dead fuel moisture values 6-7% with some sites possibly registering 5%. Southwest winds sustained 15-23 mph with higher gusts will support rates of fire spread in tall grass fuels 198-260 ft./min. (2.2-2.9 mph) with head fire flame lengths 12-18 ft. during peak burning conditions. Timber fuels will exhibit moderated fire behavior. Fire behavior potential will decrease with sunset.

 Special Note to Firefighters:

A very strong cold front is expected tomorrow posing a challenging fire environment. The arrival of a cold will include very strong southwest winds shifting to the northwest with frontal passage. Keep current on the location of the cold front throughout the day paying attention to weather information such as “Current Fire Weather Conditions” map generated by the Oklahoma Mesonet that is updated every 5 minutes and con be found in the Mesonet app or at https://www.mesonet.org/index.php/weather/map/current_fire_weather_conditions/current_conditions. W

Passage of a cold front prompts a clockwise shift in wind direction that generally includes an increase in wind velocity and increasing wind gusts effecting both rate and direction of fire spread. Firefighters are encouraged to anchor the fire at a advantageous location at the heel of the fire and flanking the fire toward the head. Place particular emphasis on the east flank securing the southeast corner as this portion of the fire will become the head fire after the front passes.

Burn Bans:

  • Texas County

Refer to http://www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-info for the most current burn ban information and links to specific burn ban proclamations.