Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 1
March 23, 2016 – 12:30 pm
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
Due to high fire danger and ongoing wildfires across the state, the State Emergency Operations Center is activated. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and is coordinating with Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Forestry Services Division, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, National Weather Service, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Fire Warning for a large part of Oklahoma until 9 pm. The warning is generally west of a line from Ardmore to Nowata where extreme fire danger will bring very strong winds gusting to 60 mph at times. Very low relative humidity values below 20 percent will combine with temperatures in the 70s to low 80s to create extreme wildfire threat conditions. A strong cold front is expected in northwest Oklahoma this afternoon. Very strong winds will occur behind the front, complicating ongoing fire suppression.
Severe thunderstorms are possible in eastern Oklahoma later this afternoon and this evening. Primary threats are large hail and damaging winds. An isolated tornado is also possible. The fire weather will slowly ease this evening as humidity levels increase. However, ongoing fires will continue to be driven by gusty winds through the night.
Outdoor burning and other activities that could spark a fire are strongly discouraged. Do not throw cigarettes out car windows. Report any suspicious smoke or fires to your local law enforcement or fire authority.
The following fires have been reported to the State Emergency Operations Center:
Woods County Emergency Management reports a fire continues to burn 23 miles north, northwest of Alva, extending into Kansas. Overnight, an Incident Management Team was deployed to assist on the fire. About eight ranches near Coldwater, Kansas were evacuated early this morning. Mutual aid continues from numerous jurisdictions including Major and Ellis counties and Weatherford which sent Task Forces. OEM remains in contact with Kansas State Emergency Management regarding this fire.
Lincoln County Emergency Management reports a fire burning south of Stroud at Highway 99. An Oklahoma Forestry Task Force was deployed on this fire.
Blaine County and Custer County Emergency Management reports a fire burning east of Thomas. This is a rekindle from a fire yesterday.
Okmulgee County Emergency Management reports a fire in the northeast area of the county.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.
Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant