Current weather conditions have local and state officials on the ready for wild fires. Larry Wallace of the Altus Fire Department said today that low relative humidity, combined with dry fuels and gusty winds, could combine for dangerous conditions.
“Conditions are favorable for fires to start and spread,” said Wallace. “We are encouraging people not to do any outdoor burning right now because even with winds as low as 10-15 mph, the fires could spread quickly.”
Wallace said that unless we get some rain, the fire conditions will stay with us.
The National Weather Service says a slow moving low pressure system is approaching the state and is expected to bring heavy rain across Oklahoma between late Tuesday night through Saturday night. Heavy rainfall is possible Wednesday night through Friday night and some flooding may occur.
Even though rains are in the immediate forecast, officials from Oklahoma Forestry Services report that the number of wildfires across the state and the region are increasing and also urges the public to be very careful with outdoor activities that might spark a blaze.
“We are pre-positioning aircraft and firefighters to be ready for any new fires,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. “We have opened a portable air tanker base at Ardmore so that heavy tankers can be closer to assist with fires in Oklahoma, as well as Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Fire activity has definitely picked up in the four-state region.”
“We are just asking Oklahomans to remain vigilant as we enter our winter fire season,” said Geissler. “It is really dry across Oklahoma and we are just asking everyone to do their part in preventing any new starts.”
Some of the most severe conditions are present in southeastern Oklahoma. Although there is a fire danger in Jackson County, and across most of the southern half of Oklahoma, the only county burn bans enacted are in the southeastern counties of Choctaw, LeFlore and McCurtain.
Burn ban information is available at http://www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information.
Citizens are asked to report any new fires or suspicious smoke to their nearest fire department.
Reach Michael Bush at [email protected]