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December 13, 2021
Extreme Fire Weather Predicted Wednesday
A damaging and potentially life-threatening wildfire event is expected over the southern Great Plains on Wednesday. Current fire weather and fuels analytics indicate extreme fire danger in the Oklahoma Panhandle and northwestern Oklahoma into west-central Oklahoma.
“Forecasts are indicating that Wednesday’s wildfire event could likely be one order of magnitude greater than the 1,000+ acre fires we saw last Friday,” said Mark Goeller, State Forester and Director of Oklahoma Forestry Services. “We will again preposition OFS wildland firefighting resources to be prepared to respond to new fires that could eventually exceed 10,000 acres in size.”
Citizens are urged to postpone any outdoor burning or welding until conditions improve and to be extremely cautious with any outdoor activities that could spark a blaze. This includes burning brush and debris, outdoor camp fires, and charcoal grilling. Caution should also be taken when towing trailers to ensure safety chains are not dragging or able to hit the pavement which showers sparks and starts fires in the roadside vegetation.
“Heeding these simple recommendations has proven to lessen the occurrence of human caused fires,” said Goeller. “Simply waiting a few days until conditions improve may mean the difference in catastrophic wildfires that could threaten the safety of the public and firefighters.”
A fire weather watch is in effect for Wednesday across much of western Oklahoma and Oklahoma Panhandle counties. Please report any smoke or fire by calling 911.
Burn bans are currently in effect for Alfalfa, Cimarron, Coal, Garvin, Jefferson, Major and Texas Counties. For the latest burn ban information visit www.ag.ok.gov/divisions/forestry-services. Even if your county isn’t under a burn ban, outdoor burning is discouraged due to the extreme conditions.
About Oklahoma Forestry Services
Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, is committed to conserving, enhancing and protecting Oklahoma’s 12.5 million acres of forests and woodlands. Since 1925 Oklahoma Forestry Services has worked with individuals and communities throughout the state to create resilient landscapes, fire-adaptive communities and provide wildfire response. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the division also has regional offices in Goldsby, Broken Bow, Wilburton and Tahlequah. For more information, visit http://www.forestry.ok.gov.