Western Oklahoma Braces for Very High Fire Danger

Officials with Oklahoma Forestry Services are preparing for predicted high fire danger in western Oklahoma Monday. The primary area of concern is the Oklahoma panhandle, as well as counties bordering the Texas panhandle. Areas to the east of this could be affected if the forecasted dry air shifts farther east than predicted.

Firefighting resources are being prepositioned in Guymon and Weatherford in advance of the predicted fire weather. This includes two OFS wildland task forces and an Oklahoma National Guard helicopter on standby for deployment. These resources will be poised to respond to any new fires and available to assist local resources with extended attack as well.

“Recently, numerous fires have been sparked in Western Oklahoma by vehicles dragging chains or driving on a tire rim after a flat,” said State Forester Mark Goeller. “This area is very dry with no significant rainfall in the last 30 days.”

Monday’s forecast calls for relative humidity in the low teens to 20% range, winds gusting over 30 mph and temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s.

Citizens are urged to be cautious not to spark a wildfire and to report any suspicious smoke or fire to their closest fire department or by calling 911. Homeowners can also make their home more defensible by moving trash, debris and other flammable items like firewood piles or portable propane tanks a safe distance away from their home.

“Under these conditions we are strongly discouraging any outdoor burning in the affected area on Monday,” said Goeller. “This is a short duration event, with conditions improving by after nightfall.”

Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead agency related to wildland fire prevention, protection and use. For additional information about wildfires, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/wildfire-information .