A Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory is currently in effect for a large portion of Oklahoma as well as Texas, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. The above normal rainfall in 2017 led to excessive fine fuel growth. This combined with increasing drought conditions has created dangerous fire behavior conditions in the region.
The advisory was issued after thorough analysis by Oklahoma Forestry Services in collaboration with interagency wildland fire personnel. It is valid until March 22, but an extension or modification could be issued.
“Under these conditions we could see fast moving fires that quickly out pace suppression efforts and threaten communities,” said George Geissler, OFS director. “We request that citizens avoid areas in the vicinity of ongoing fires, monitor the media, and heed evacuation notices should fires occur near their homes or places of employment.”
Firefighter safety messages are being issued by OFS when fire weather conditions warrant. These safety messages caution wildfire suppression personnel not to depend on typical behavior and tactics.
“This fire season we are seeing fire carry across areas burned in previous years. Firefighters are reporting extreme fire behavior even during the overnight hours,” said Geissler. “This is not typical fire behavior in Oklahoma.”
A Governor’s Burn Ban, as well as several County Commissioner issued bans are in effect. For the most updated list of counties under ban visit www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-info.
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.
Note to Media:
For the latest Oklahoma “Daily Wildfire Situation Report” visit www.forestry.ok.gov and click the link on the homepage (green box on right hand side.) The report contains information about recent fire activity, predicted fire weather and a link for current burn bans.