Fire Situation Report – September 2, 2011

Fire Situation Report – September 2, 2011

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS* for Time Period 0800 thru 0800, 09/01/11 thru 09/02/11

NE Area – 1 fire burned 0.1 acres (Cause: Incendiary)

EC Area – 0 fires

SE Area – 2 fires burned 4.1 acres (Causes: 1-Incendiary; 1-Escaped Debris Burn)

* 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 across Oklahoma.  Competition for resources was high, especially air resources.  Seven requests for State assistance were received from outside of the Protection Area yesterday:

63rd Street (Oklahoma County) – Two Task Forces of State Forestry firefighters equipped with one Type 2 Dozer, three Type 3 Dozers, four Type 6 Engines and an Operations Specialist aboard an Oklahoma Highway Patrol aircraft assisted the Oklahoma City Fire Department with the control of this wildfire that began on August 30th.  Forestry Services personnel constructed several miles of control lines around the fire to prevent further fire spread.  For the third day of this incident the Oklahoma Army National Guard committed one CH-47 Chinook helicopter equipped with a 1,320 gallon bucket and one UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a 660-gallon bucket to assist with the suppression efforts.  Numerous municipal fire departments and County Wildland Task Forces provided mutual-aid to Oklahoma City FD.  Resources are being demobilized from the fire today.  The fire perimeter was mapped yesterday at 2,189 acres.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Noble (McClain County) – An Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a 660-gallon bucket was dispatched at the request of the Norman Fire Department to assist with this wildfire that caused the evacuation of Noble High School.  Three firefighters sustained non-life threatening injuries during the suppression of this fire.  Numerous fire departments were committed to this wildfire that burned an estimate 600 acres.  The fire’s cause is under investigation.

Bolins (Caddo County) – An Oklahoma Army National Guard UH-60 helicopter equipped 660-gallon bucket assisted the Carnegie Fire Department with this wildfire that burned approximately 230 acres five miles southwest of Fort Cobb.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs was also committed to the control of this incident.

Ferguson (Comanche County) – An Oklahoma Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter equipped 1,320-gallon bucket assisted on this wildfire that started yesterday afternoon in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.  Numerous structures are threatened and evacuations are in effect.  Two National Guard aircraft have been dispatched this morning to provide aerial suppression assistance.  A National Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered to assume command of this incident.  Numerous other ground suppression resources have also been ordered.  Approximately 5,000 acres have burned as a result of this on-going incident.   The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Soper (Choctaw County) – Two Forestry Services units (two Type 2 Dozers and two Type 6 Engines) with four firefighters from the Southeast Area suppressed this fire at the request of the Boswell Fire Department.  This incendiary-caused wildfire occurred four miles southwest of Soper and burned 88 acres.

Two other requests for aerial assistance were received yesterday.  One request for a wildfire north of Shawnee was cancelled by the Incident Commander prior to the dispatch of aerial resources.  The other request for a wildfire near Elgin was unable to be honored when the requesting party failed to provide critical dispatch information despite repeated phone calls to acquire the information

Fire Danger will remain high to very high today and through the Labor Day weekend.  Relative humidity is forecast to range from 19-30% today with humidity from 22-46% on Saturday and Sunday.  Winds will be from the south-southwest today and tomorrow sustained at 10-20 mph with higher gusts.  Temperatures are expected to reach into the upper 90s and low 100s today and tomorrow.  Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday a strong cold front will cross Oklahoma which will shift the winds out of the north behind the front with wind speeds of 15-20 mph with higher gusts.  Temperatures are expected to drop into mid-70s to low-90s. 

Also, the chance of an isolated thunderstorm exists in advance of the cold front.  Any thunderstorm in the area of a wildfire has the potential to seriously affect firefighting efforts.  Possible new wildfire starts from lightning and downdrafts/out-flow winds that could affect on-going fires will be possible again 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 long holiday weekend, please be careful during any outdoor activity that has the potential to start a wildfire.  The exceptionally dry wildland fuels make any fire that starts very difficult to control.  Don’t ruin the weekend by possibly starting a wildfire that could threaten lives and property.

Several of the large fires over the last few days have been suspicious in nature.  Please be observant in your area and report any suspicious wildland fire activity on the Arson Tip Line:  1-866-662-7766 (1-866-NO ARSON).

A Governor’s Burn Ban remains in effect for 61 counties.  County Burn Bans are in effect for several counties.  For the most current Burn Ban information click on the following link:

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

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