Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
June 24, 2011 5:30 p.m.
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to work with our partners at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division to assist local firefighters with this wildfire outbreak. Other State partners involved include the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Health Department, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
At the request of Governor Mary Fallin, Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb today declared a State of Emergency for 33 Oklahoma counties due to the ongoing drought and wildfires. The declaration marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
Extreme or exceptional drought conditions have combined with very warm temperatures, dry air and gusty winds to create rapid fire growth potential. Winds are 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.
This weekend, hot and dry conditions will continue across the state. Fire danger will remain very high, especially west of I-35. With no significant rain in the forecast at this time, these conditions are expected to continue through the following weeks.
Nearly a dozen fires have been reported statewide Thursday and Friday including in Camargo, Cement and Medicine Park. Fires were also reported in areas of Comanche, Custer, Lincoln and Woods counties. Some fires have required evacuations. Numerous homes have been destroyed or damaged. Additional houses are still threatened at this time by ongoing fires.
The American Red Cross is supporting an Evacuation Center at the Honeycutt Gym at 921 Randolph Rd. in Fort Sill, which sheltered 20 people overnight.
The State EOC is working with the Oklahoma National Guard to provide air support in Medicine Park and Camargo. Currently, two helicopters are providing water drops in Medicine Park and one helicopter is providing water drops in Camargo.
Three National Guard helicopters will be on standby throughout the weekend as well. OEM, Oklahoma Forestry Services and the Oklahoma National Guard will be monitoring the situation if air support is requested Saturday or Sunday.
Additionally, the State EOC is helping to coordinate resources such as task force requests and other needs. Throughout the day, more than 25 county task forces have assisted on fires.
Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant