Fire Situation Report – April 7, 2015

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
Oklahoma Forestry Services

PROTECTION AREA STATISTICS* for Reporting Period 0800 thru 0800, 04/06/15 thru 04/07/15

NE Area – No Activity
EC Area – No Activity
SE Area – No Activity

Large Fire Activity within the Protection Area: No Activity

Large Fire Activity with OFS Response outside the Protection Area: No Activity

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 DEPARTMENT STATISTICS** from recorded on 04/06/15 thru 04/07/15

No Activity Reported

** - These statistics are from Fire Departments that have recorded 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:
The dry line pushing into Oklahoma over the next two days will bring increased risks of critical fire weather west of the dry line and severe weather potential east that escalates Wednesday. For Wednesday, A Red Flag Warning has been issued for counties in the Panhandle and western Oklahoma along with a Fire Weather Watch west of a line from Alfalfa County in the north to Tillman County in the south.

Today, the highest fire danger will be present along and west of a line from Alfalfa County to Tillman County as the dry line pushes into Oklahoma. Temperatures will be85°-90° with limited sky cover and relative humidity falling into the 5-25% range. This will result in very dry fine fuels compounded by drought impacts creating potential for rapid fire growth and increased fire suppression difficulty. Winds will be southwest 10-15 mph with gusts around 20 mph in areas. While winds are expected to be below critical thresholds today, very dry fuels and atmospheric instability will support active fire behavior. Any storms firing along the dry line in the vicinity of a going fire will result in erratic fire behavior.

Areas east of the dry line should expect moderated to minimal fire danger as both sky cover and relative humidity increase traveling east.

At this time Wednesday presents high probability of critical fire weather in areas west of the dry line. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for ten Oklahoma Counties on Wednesday from 12:00 PM through 8:00 PM as well as a Fire Weather Watch from 1:00 PM through 8:00 PM for an additional nine counties in western Oklahoma. The Red Flag Warning has been issued for the following counties: Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Ellis, Woodward, Roger Mills, Dewey, Beckham, Harmon and Greer Counties. Critical fire weather is expected to be in place enhanced by atmospheric instability. Temperature around 90°, relative humidity ranging from 5-20% and winds out of the southwest 20-30 mph with some higher gusts will create potential for very fast growing fires that may exhibit rates of spread in excess of 400 ft./min (approx. 4.5 mph) especially when wind and topography are aligned.

The Fire Weather Watch established for tomorrow in counties surrounding the warning area include: Harper, Woods, Alfalfa, Major, Custer, Washita, Kiowa, Jackson and Tillman Counties. Similar fire weather is expected in the Watch area; however both relative humidity and wind speed may hover just outside critical fire weather criteria. Increased forecast confidence or observation may trigger an upgrade to Red Flag Warning.

Special Note to Firefighters:

Dynamic weather over the next few days has potential to draw heavily on emergency response resources with high fire danger indices in the west and severe weather threats also present in Oklahoma. County Wildland Task Forces are encouraged to determine their availability and be prepared for mobilization. If you are mobilized to an incident, insure that you are briefed on the fire environment, known hazards and tactical assignment. Establish Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes and Safety Zones (LCES) prior to committing to suppression action. And, maintain ongoing situational awareness by continually assessing the fire environment.

Special Note to the Public:

Do you understand Fire Weather Watch and Red Flag Warning criteria?

The National Weather Service issues a watch or warning when critical fire weather elements that include temperature, wind speed and relative humidity are forecast to produce low fuel moisture and potential for rapid rates of fire spread. This system of alerting the public and emergency responders is similar to the watch / warning system utilized for conveying information about impending severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and winter weather.

A Fire Weather Watch is issued when critical fire weather is expected within 72 hours.

A Red Flag Warning is issued when critical fire weather is imminent.

In Oklahoma, critical fire weather are met during the dormant season (late fall through early spring) when temperature is 65° or higher, wind speed is 20 mph or higher, and relative humidity is expected to be 20% or lower. In the growing season (late spring through early fall), the criteria are 95°↑, 20 mph↑ and 20%↓.

When a watch or warning is issued, please avoid outdoor activities that may spark a wildfire!

Remember… ONLY YOU can prevent wildfires! Enjoy Oklahoma’s wildlands responsibly.

Report any suspicious wildland fire activity on the Arson Tip Line: 1-866-662-7766 (1-866-NO ARSON).

Prepared by: Drew Daily, Fire Staff Forester, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry - Forestry Services