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Michelle Finch-Walker, PIO
April 12, 2022
Extreme Wildfire Potential Tuesday
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Officials with Oklahoma Forestry Services warn that the potential for extreme fire danger will be present today across western Oklahoma. A Red Flag Warning is in effect with sustained southwest winds to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph, single digit relative humidity and temperatures approaching the mid-90s. These conditions coupled with critically dry fuel conditions will allow for extreme fire behavior.
“Conditions are looking ominous and there is a high probability of significant fire occurrence with outbreak conditions probable,” said Drew Daily, fire staff officer for OFS. “Eerily, conditions today will be very similar to those that occurred on April 12, 2018 when the Rhea, 34 Complex and Shaw Fires occurred along with a number of other impactful fires.”
In advance of predicted fire weather OFS has prepositioned Suppression Groups (engines, dozers and overhead personnel) in Woodward and Weatherford. Oklahoma National Guard helicopters and a fixed wing Oklahoma Highway Patrol aircraft with OFS Operations Specialist are also available.
“Under these extreme conditions we strongly discourage any burning at all and urge Oklahomans to be careful with any outdoor activities that could spark a wildfire. Delaying things like charcoal cooking and welding can make a difference on a day like today,” said OFS Fire Management Chief, Andy James. “In these conditions, any fire that starts has the potential to spread rapidly. We urge Oklahomans to be vigilant and to call 911 if they see any new fire or smoke.”
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.
Burn bans are currently in place for 21 counties. Visit https://ag.ok.gov/divisions/forestry-services/ for the most updated map of bans. Even if your county isn’t under a burn ban, outdoor burning is discouraged due to the extreme conditions.
Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead agency related to wildland fire prevention, protection and use. For additional information about wildfires, visit ag.ok.gov/divisions/forestry-services.