Red Flag Warnings Issued as Oklahoma Forestry Services Continue Containment Efforts of NW FiresMon, 16 Apr 2018 15:07:04 CDT
The latest report on the ongoing wildfire situation in northwest Oklahoma was release Monday afternoon, April 16th at approximately 2:45 p.m. A summary report follows, with additional information on two of the individual fires.
Moderate humidity recovery and light winds across western Oklahoma overnight allowed some progress on the on-going large fires.
Fire danger across the western half of the state will remain very high to extreme. Relative humidity values today will range from the low single digits in the far west portion of the Panhandle to the 20 percent range along and near a line from
Jackson County to Woods County. Winds will be shifting from the SE to SSW by mid-afternoon. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 80s in the Panhandle and 70s elsewhere. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for today from 1
p.m. to 8 p.m. in Cimarron, Texas, and Beaver Counties.
SPECIAL NOTE: Fire danger Tuesday is expected to mirror fire weather conditions experienced last Thursday.
Temperatures tomorrow are expected to climb into the 90°s with relative humidity values in the single digits west of US 81. Sustained southwest winds up to 30 mph and gusts 40-50 mph have been forecast.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for tomorrow, April 17th, from 11 a.m. to midnight for a large portion of western Oklahoma. The affected area and the extreme conditions will exist near and west of a line from Alfalfa County to
Cotton County. New fires will likely exhibit explosive rapid rates of spread. Ongoing fires will require extensive patrol and mop up to prevent escape.
For the full Fire Situation report for April 16, 2018, click here.
34 Complex Fire:
The 34 Complex fire started on April 12, as three fires in Woodward and Harper Counties subsequently burned together as a result of high winds and low humidity. The wind-driven fires burned rapidly through tall grass and brush that had been affected by extended drought conditions in this part of Oklahoma. The initial response to the fires came from the Oklahoma Forestry Services and local fire fighting resources including counties across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. As the fires merged and continued to grow, the Oklahoma Forestry Services ordered a National Type 2 Incident Command Team, the Southern Area Gold Team, to join Unified Command and provide management support to local and state firefighters for the 34 Complex fire beginning at 6 AM this morning. National Incident Command Teams have access to wildland firefighting resources from across the nation thereby providing much needed relief to local wildland firefighters.
Southern Area Gold Team resources will join with state, county and local firefighters today to build and reinforce firelines and patrol and mop up on the 34 Complex Fire. The goal today is to strengthen existing firelines and continue to establish new line where needed, in anticipation of a weather pattern that is expected tomorrow to bring in strong winds and lower humidity. Air operations today include an IR (Infra-Red) flight to help crews on the ground identify heat sources. Additional crews are arriving. A night shift will also start tonight, providing 24 hour coverage.
115 total personnel, 21 fire engines, 2 bulldozers, 1 helicopter, and access to additional air support from helicopters and fixed-wing airplanes.
67,778 acres, 45% contained
Weather and Fire Behavior
Highs today in mid 70’s with 15 to 18 percent relative humidity. Winds 10 to 15 miles per hour from the south.
Woodward and Harper Counties are currently under a Governors Burn Ban.
The Rhea Fire, that has consumed over 246,000 acres since its onset as of April 12th 2018, has been transitioned to the Southern States Type 1 Incident Management Team to manage. The team assumed management of the fire last evening at 1800 hours.
Yesterday northerly winds contributed to growth in the southern portion of the fire. The weather outlook for today indicates winds out of the east early, with an expected shift in the afternoon to a southerly direction. This shift in wind direction may effect growth and be challenging for fire crews on the northern flank of the fire.
The Southern States Type 1 Incident Management Team will be working alongside state and local resources today to continue reinforcing fire line and support ongoing mop-up operations, preparing for critical weather concerns that are expected on the fire on Tuesday.
Fire operations will continue to receive new fire suppression resources daily, to effectively manage the Rhea Fire and enable the local and state fire crews to receive some much needed rest, as well as, rehabilitate fire equipment.
Source - Oklahoma Forestry Services
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