Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 2
April 13 – 4:30 p.m.
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
Due to high fire danger and wildfires across the state today, the State Emergency Operations Center remains 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, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, 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 through 10 p.m. Very low relative humidity values near 10 percent will combine with strong southwest winds of 20-30 miles per hour, gusting to 50 miles per hour to create explosive wildfire growth potential. A cold front will move through the state tonight. Any ongoing fires will shift direction as winds turn to the northwest. Very strong winds are expected behind the cold front with gusts to 60 miles per hour in the panhandle. Fire weather conditions will marginally improve behind the cold front, although strong north winds on Saturday may again cause critical fire weather conditions.
Severe thunderstorms are possible in eastern Oklahoma through this evening. Primary threat is damaging hail to tennis ball size and strong winds. Tornadoes are also possible.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Governor Mary Fallin today declared a State of Emergency for 52 Oklahoma counties due to ongoing wildfires and critical fire weather conditions that began Thursday. Under the Executive Order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
The counties included in the governor’s declaration are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, McClain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT
The Governor’s Burn Ban remains in effect for 16 counties: Beaver, Beckham, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills, Texas, Washita, Woods, and Woodward. Additional county burn bans are in place for the following counties: Alfalfa, Canadian, Grant, and Major.
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.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports a 61-year-old man died Thursday in Roger MIlls County as a result of injuries sustained in the fire that began southeast of Leedey.
Oklahoma Forestry Services reports a turkey hunter who was missing in Dewey County has been found and transported to a burn center.
SHELTERS AND MASS CARE
The American Red Cross continues to operate an evacuation shelter at the Faith United Methodist Church at 1402 Texas Avenue in Woodward.
An additional American Red Cross shelter is now open at the Fairview Community Center at 206 E. Broadway in Fairview.
Oklahoma State Department of Health has deployed the Region 3 Regional Emergency Medical Services Systems team to stage near Camargo to assist with firefighter rehab.
Dewey County Emergency Management reports the Rhea Fire that started Thursday southeast of Leedey is now threatening Vici, Taloga, Camargo, Leedey, and Putnam where evacuations have been ordered. Oklahoma Forestry Services is supporting the fire with aircraft, and a task force. Numerous fire departments and task forces are also responding. This fire is estimated at 82,000 acres. An additional fire is located southwest of Vici.
Woodward County Emergency Management reports the 34 Complex Fire that started Thursday is still burning. Numerous fire departments and task forces are responding. Oklahoma Forestry Services is supporting the fire with both air and ground assets. This fire is now estimated at 59,000 acres. An additional fire southeast of Woodward that started yesterday is being monitored and is now in mop up stage.
Oklahoma Forestry Services reports the Shaw Fire that started Thursday in Roger Mills County south of Durham is being monitored and is now in mop up stage. This fire is estimated at 7,250 acres.
Additional fires have been reported today in Beckham, Caddo, Osage, and Roger Mills counties.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports State Highway 34 is closed at the US-60 junction at Vici south to Camargo due to fire conditions.
Additionally, both lanes of westbound I-40 are closed at Erick (mm 7) due to fires in Texas, however, motorists traveling to Texas are advised to not travel any farther than Elk City (mm 38) due to wild fires in Beckham, Dewey, and Harmon counties. These fires effectively eliminate any north or south alternate routes because there is no safe passage to the west into Texas at this time. State Highway 30 between I-40 and State Highway 152 and between I-40 and State Highway 9 remains open, but motorists are advised to use extreme caution due to wildfires near this route.
HOW TO HELP
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry reports three relief funds have been established.
Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation
Make checks payable to Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation with “Fire Relief” in the memo line and mail to P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148. To donate online, visit www.okcattlemen.org.
Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Foundation
Make checks payable to the Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Foundation with “Wildfire Relief” in the memo line and mail to 2501 N. Stiles, Oklahoma City, OK 73105. To donate online, visit www.okfarmingandranching.org.
Oklahoma Farmers Union Foundation
Make checks payable to Farmers Union Foundation, Inc., with “Wildfire Relief” in the memo line and mail to the attention of Wildfire Relief at P.O. Box 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124.
One hundred percent of the donations will be distributed to the relief efforts.
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.