Oklahoma wildfire chat with Assistant State Fire Marshal JoAnne Sellars, August 9, 2012

Assistant State Fire Marshal JoAnne Sellars chatted with readers Thursday about recent suspicious wildfires in Cleveland County and safety precautions.
by Tiffany Gibson Modified: August 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm •  Published: August 9, 2012
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Below is a transcript of a chat with Assistant State Fire Marshall JoAnne Sellars about recent suspicious wildfires across the state.

Assistant State Fire Marshal JoAnne Sellars will be signing in soon to chat about recent wildfires across Oklahoma. You can start submitting your questions now.
- NewsOK at 12:39

OK, let's get started.
- NewsOK at 13:00

Thanks to JoAnne Sellars for being here with us today to talk about the recent fires.
- NewsOK at 13:00

You're welcome
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:01

OK, let's start off by talking about last weekend. We’ve had several wildfires ignite since Friday. Why is that? Are the temperatures or weather conditions to blame?
- NewsOK at 13:02

There have been a significant number of large wildland fires recently and I am concerned it is going to get worse before it gets better
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:02

There is no one condition that we should look for to blame on the devastation from the accidental wild land fires. It is a combination of things and certainly the extreme dry conditions are a major factor.
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:03

The potential is there for fires across the state with more intensity from the dry conditins and far reacahing fire damage over a greater area.
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:04

I have just been informed by the agent investigating the Cleveland County fire storm from last Friday.
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:04

He has determined that the three fires which started on Cementary Road were deliberately set, this was an act of Arson
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:05

Do they have a person of interest in custody?
- NewsOK at 13:06

At this time the investigation is on going and hopefully in a few more days we might have more information to share with the public
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:07

Do we know at this time what was used to start the Cleveland County fires?
- NewsOK at 13:08

Yesterday another fire in rural Cleveland County was determined to be an act of Arson as well.
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:08

The investigators know but are not ready to share this information now. There is a lot of work invovled with a fire investigation of this magnitude
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:10

Some of the other fires across the state are said to be suspicious too. Any ruling on whether those were deliberately set?
- NewsOK at 13:11

The agency is not involved with the investigation of all these fires, the only other wildland fire the state fire marshal office is investigating is the fire yesterday in Spencer
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:13

At this time the investigation is on-going and no specific are available at this time
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:14

How many wildfires have been investigated so far this year?
- NewsOK at 13:14

The Oklahoma Dept of Emergency Management maintains records on fire data for the state. The OSFM keeps records of fires we have investigated by request from law enforcement and fire service
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:16

Right now the agency has investigated 313 fires this year, most of the fires we investigate are structure fires
- JoAnne Sellars at 13:17

Can you tell us how many homes were damaged or destroyed in the wildfires since Friday? Acres burned?
- NewsOK at 13:19

Continue reading this story on the...

by Tiffany Gibson
News Online Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the digital news team. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media accounts. A Tennessee...
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