Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 1
August 3, 2012 – 5:30 p.m.
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
Due to high fire danger across the state, the State Emergency Operations Center is at Level Two activation today. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas. Additionally, OEM is working with the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Forestry Division, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
STATEWIDE BURN BAN
A statewide Burn Ban was issued today by Gov. Mary Fallin. This ban supersedes all county burn bans currently in place and remains in place until conditions improve and it is removed by the Governor. For a copy of the current burn ban resolution or for the most up-to-date information go to: www.forestry.ok.gov/ burn-ban-information
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency remains in place for all 77 Oklahoma counties as declared Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin due to extreme or exceptional drought conditions. The Executive Order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief and preparedness. It is also a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary. Under the executive order, the state of emergency lasts for 30 days.
Creek County – A fire continues to burn in Creek County near the Highway 33/Highway 48 Junction. A National Guard helicopter and Bureau of Indian Affairs Helicopter are still responding.
Geary, Blaine County -- Several fire task forces continue to assist on this fire. Two structures have been destroyed but no additional damage has been reported.
Mannford, Creek County -- Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Guard helicopters are assisting as well as several surrounding fire departments. Structures are no longer threatened.
Ninnekah, Grady County – Grady County Emergency Management reports a fire south of Ninnekah. Approximately numerous homes are threatened and evacuations are underway. Oklahoma Highway Patrol is assisting with evacuations.
Noble/Slaughterville, Cleveland County -- Noble Emergency Management reports the fire that started at 132nd and McGuire Road is threatening 75 to 100 homes. Evacuations are underway in the affected area. Early reports indicate as many as 25 homes have been destroyed. Two National Guard helicopters are assisting. Evacuation area is bound by. The American Red Cross is operating a shelter/evacuation center at Noble City Hall 304 S. Main Street in Noble. Numerous surrounding fire departments are providing mutual aid, including task forces from Garvin, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties.
Oklahoma County Emergency Management reports a fire at NE 150th Street and Luther Road. This fire is in a rural area, however there are some homes threatened. State Forestry is responding with ground firefighting support. Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports the Turner Turnpike is closed from Oklahoma City to Wellston due to this fire.
Additional fires have been reported in Lincoln and Muskogee counties as well as Elk City in Roger Mills County, Ft. Cobb in Caddo County and Preston in Okmulgee County.
OEM is working in conjunction with State Forestry officials to deploy Oklahoma National Guard helicopters for aerial fire support. Oklahoma Forestry Division is providing ground firefighting support and is working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for additional aerial fire support. Water drops are being provided today on fires in Cleveland and Creek counties.
American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at Noble City Hall, 304 S. Main Street in Noble, OK.
Additionally, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army is providing canteens and volunteers to support firefighters in the affected areas.
Wildfires are often caused by human activity. High winds and dry conditions can set the stage for potentially severe fires. The greatest single cause is when burning debris is not properly contained and sparks or burning trash blow into the air. Oklahomans can help prevent fires if they:
- Be careful when pulling off a road or driving into a field. Hot catalytic converters can ignite vegetation.
- Avoid burning trash. Even a barrel covered with a screen can allow a spark to escape, igniting nearby vegetation.
- Do not use fireworks during holidays.
- If you smoke in your car, extinguish cigarettes in vehicle ashtrays. Never toss a cigarette out of a car window, and don’t put cigarettes out on the ground.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and water handy when working outdoors with equipment that gets hot, or involves sparks, such as welding equipment. Water down outdoor work areas in advance if possible.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Choose a route away from the fire hazard and be alert to changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.
When weather conditions make wildfires more likely in your area, prepare by taking the following precautions:
- Keep firefighting tools handy, such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and buckets.
- Place connected garden hoses on all sides of the house for emergency use.
- Know all emergency exits from your house.
- Learn all routes leading out of your neighborhood.
As fires actually approach, take the following actions:
- Park your car facing the direction of escape.
- Shut off gas at the meter. Only a qualified professional can safely turn the gas back on.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Place combustible patio furniture inside.
For more information about wildfire safety, visit the following websites:
Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant