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Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Update: Wildfire information

by Bryan Painter Published: May 5, 2014
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WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE

 

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to work with our partners at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division to assist local firefighters with this wildfire outbreak. Other State partners involved include the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS
Cool temperatures last week gave way to record high temperatures on Sunday. The ongoing drought across a large part of Oklahoma and dry air resulted in very low relative humidity values. The unseasonable heat and dry air combined with strong southerly winds to create favorable wildfire spread conditions across much of western and central Oklahoma. Conditions improved after sunset as the winds decreased and relative humidity values improved. Fire weather conditions will continue today through Thursday across a large part of western Oklahoma.

FATALITIES

Guthrie Fire Department reports a man died when the fire overtook his home Sunday night.

 

FIRE REPORTS

Altus Emergency Management reports a wildfire that began yesterday has burned 700 acres.

 

Logan County Emergency Management and Guthrie Fire Department reports a large wildfire continues to burn this morning. Numerous residents were evacuated overnight.  An estimated 3,000-4,000 acres have burned and at least six occupied homes were destroyed. Additional unoccupied homes and structures have been destroyed as well. Damage assessments will continue today. More than 40 task forces have assisted with the Fire since Sunday evening. Oklahoma Forestry Services is responding today with bulldozers to help with ground firefighting.

 

Pawnee County Emergency management reports a wildfire that began yesterday has burned 400-600 acres west of Keystone Lake.

 

Stillwater Emergency Management reported two wildfires near Stillwater yesterday.

 

Woodward County Emergency Management and Woodward Fire Department report a fire more than 2 miles wide and 8 miles long continues to burn east of Woodward near Highway 412. Woods and Alfalfa County task forces responded yesterday. Beaver County task force will be supporting the fire operations today.

 

RESOURCE REQUESTS

In wildfire emergencies state law identifies the Oklahoma Division of Forestry under the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture as operational lead for the State of Oklahoma. OEM continues to provide any requested resources as determined by Forestry in coordination with local incident command.

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is assisting with ground to air fire observation as well as ground support for traffic control. OHP’s Command One trailer has also been requested on scene.

 

The Oklahoma National Guard is prepared to provide aerial fire support for any mission requested. OEM has staff on the ground.

 

MASS CARE

An American Red Cross shelter remains open at Community Church at 512 E. Seward Road in Guthrie. Twelve people stayed overnight at the shelters.

 

An additional shelter is open at First Assembly of God at 1900 Division Street in Guthrie.

 

Red Cross and the Salvation Army are providing meals to first responders and residents who have been displaced by the fire.

 

POWER OUTAGES

Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports the following wildfire related power outages:

Central Rural Electric Cooperative – 179 outages in Logan County

Northwestern Electric Cooperative – 129 outages in Woodward County

 

DIAL 211

For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.

 

STAY SAFE

Fire danger remains very high today due to dry, windy conditions and high temperatures. Burn bans are in effect in four counties–Alfalfa, Cimarron, Custer and Roger Mills counties– according to Oklahoma Forestry Services. Oklahomans are reminded to obey outdoor burning bans. Regardless of whether a burn ban is issued for your county, Oklahomans are advised not to burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is a major cause of wildfires in Oklahoma and under these conditions any fire can quickly spread and threaten homes and communities.

 

For more information on how you can prepare for wildfires, go to the Oklahoma Forestry Services’ website forestry.ok.gov

 


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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