Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
April 9, 2009 – 10:30 p.m.
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
Due to the severe wildfires across the state, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains at Level Two activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
A powerful early spring storm system moved into Oklahoma today. This system caused very strong westerly winds to move across much of central and western Oklahoma. These winds brought very dry air with them and when combined with warm afternoon temperatures, provided conditions very favorable for wildfires. The growing season has started in parts of Oklahoma but drought conditions continue in many areas. This made wildfire conditions worse as dry or dormant vegetation allowed for rapid wildfire growth. The wildfire threat will continue through this evening and a cold front will make conditions especially problematic for ongoing firefighting efforts as wind rapidly shift to the northwest.
The wildfire threat will continue Friday and Saturday. Rainfall is expected across much of the state late Saturday into Sunday, temporarily reducing the wildfire threat.
The Oklahoma Department of Health reports 34 injuries across the state. One severe injury is reported in Stephens County, where a motorist lost vehicular control on a smoke-covered road. A Lincoln County firefighter is listed in stable condition at the Integris Burn Center, in Oklahoma City. The remaining injuries are all categorized from minor to moderate.
Reports from emergency management organizations throughout the state have identified in excess of 100 homes destroyed. The larger numbers seem to be in south central Oklahoma and eastern Oklahoma County. Additionally, numerous outbuildings have been destroyed. More accurate assessments will be made after first light.
The American Red Cross is operating or supporting shelters at the following locations:
- Duncan Community Center, Duncan
- 1st Baptist Church, Healdton
- Stillwater Community Center, Stillwater
- Midwest City Community Center, Midwest City
- Alex Public School, Grady County
- 1st Methodist Church, Marietta
- Turner School, Love County
- 1st Baptist Church, Nicoma Park
- Purcell Fire Department, Purcell
- Stephens County Fairground, Duncan