Fire Situation Report – September 20, 2011

Fire Situation Report – September 20, 2011

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS* for Time Period 0800 thru 0800, 09/19/11 thru 09/20/11

NE Area – 0 fires

EC Area – 0 fires

SE Area – 4 fires burned 17.5 acres (Causes: 4-Lightning)

* 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:  Lightning continues to be a major cause of fire starts this year which indicates the exceptionally dry condition of the larger diameter wildland fuels.  Temporary green up of grassy fuels has occurred in some areas of Oklahoma following the rainfall experienced over the last few days.  While some reduction of fire danger will occur with this green up, it will only be a temporary reduction unless additional moisture is received. 

The forest canopy in many areas of Oklahoma has gone dormant due to the extended drought and high temperatures.  Green up of the forest canopy will not occur until next spring regardless of any amount of moisture.  Until leaf fall occurs, these dormant, cured aerial fuels will continue to add complexity to fire control in forested areas.

Fire danger today will be highest west of a rough line from Grant County to Tillman County.  Relative humidity is expected to drop into the mid-teens to upper teens.  Southerly winds will be sustained from the 10-15 mph with gusts above 20 mph.  Temperatures are forecast to climb into the upper 80s to low 90s.

Dry air is in place over the remainder of the state and high fire danger expected in areas where little moisture has been received.  Relative humidity is expected to range from 20%-30% with winds generally from the south sustained from 5-10 mph.  Temperatures are forecast to reach into the 80 degree range.

SPECIAL NOTE TO FIREFIGHTERS:  A cold front will be passing through Oklahoma this afternoon and throughout the evening.  The front is forecast to reach into northwest Oklahoma late this afternoon into the early evening hours.  Northerly winds behind the front are expected to be sustained at 10-15 mph with gusts above 20 mph.  If fighting a wildfire during the next twenty four hours be prepared for a wind shift and the potential impacts to fire behavior and direction of spread.  

A Governor’s Burn Ban remains in effect for 61 counties.  Several County Burn Bans are in effect.  For current Burn Ban information 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