Situation Update 1
March 31, 2023 – 9:30 p.m.
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
Due to high fire danger, wildfires, and high winds across the state, the State Emergency Operations Center activated today, March 31. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (ODEMHS) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and is coordinating with Oklahoma Forestry Services, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, National Weather Service, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
A Red Flag Warning remains in effect until 10 p.m. for many counties in western, central, and north central Oklahoma. Oklahoma Forestry Services called out all Forestry task forces to respond to fires across the state.
FIRE MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE GRANTS SECURED
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state’s request for three Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs): the Simpson Fire in Logan County, the Hefner Road Fire in Oklahoma City, and the Gap Fire in Washington County.
The grants will help reimburse local governments, volunteer fire departments and other first responders for costs associated with responding to the fires. The authorization makes FEMA funding available to reimburse 75 percent of state, local and tribal government eligible firefighting costs for the designated fires. Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Fire departments and other agencies that responded to the three fires are advised to document all costs related to equipment and supplies (including fuel), labor costs, travel and per diem, temporary repairs of damage caused by firefighting activities, mobilization, and demobilization. ODEMHS will continue to assess the need for additional federal assistance.
An evacuation shelter was opened in Bartlesville at the Town and Country Christian Church at 616 NE Washington Blvd. in Bartlesville.
Oklahoma City Emergency Management reports the Hefner Road Fire at Hefner Road and Kelley Avenue in Oklahoma City destroyed three residential structures. Three residential structures, two commercial storage buildings, and one commercial dump truck had minor damage.
Logan County Emergency Management reports the Simpson Fire at Simpson Road and Coltrane Road near Guthrie led to evacuations earlier today. Numerous homes were destroyed in the fire. Task forces from Comanche County, Pontotoc County, and Wagoner County provided firefighting support. OHP assisted with traffic control.
Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Management reports the Gap Fire near the intersection of Highway 123 and Gap Road led to numerous rounds of evacuations in the area today. Multiple structures burned. Fire departments from Washington County, Bartlesville, Copan, Dewey, Ochelata, Oglesby and Osage Hills responded along with task forces from Ottawa County, Muskogee County, and Mayes County. A wildfire strike team and EOC support team from Craig County also responded.
The State Emergency Operations Center received reports of more than 65 additional fires in 27 counties.
At the height of the event today, more than 28,000 power outages were reported statewide due to high winds or wildfires.
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.