With extreme fire weather danger anticipated for the weekend (April 15-17), Gov. Mary Fallin joined the Oklahoma emergency management, forestry services, the National Guard and National Weather Service in reminding Oklahomans to be especially careful with outdoor activities.
The potential for widespread fires continues, with no significant relief to the dry conditions in sight. However, Sunday warrants heightened alert, with National Weather Service forecasters anticipating an opportunity for damages not seen since April 9, 2009 when more than 100,000 acres burned leaving over 200 homes destroyed.
On Sunday, fires will be especially hard to contain with winds expected at 30 to 40 mph and gusts upwards of 50 to 60 mph. Under these conditions even downed power lines could spark a potential flame.
In advance of Sunday’s forecast, Gov. Fallin has extended the State of Emergency she first declared for the wildfires on March 11. She is also is working with State Emergency Management officials who remain ready to ramp up activities at the State Emergency Operations Center as necessary. National Guard helicopters equipped with buckets to provide water drops remain on standby. Additionally, Oklahoma Forestry Services Task Forces are staged and ready for mobilization as needed. There are currently 47 counties under a burn ban.
“Our emergency personnel and first responders are on standby and preparing for dangerous conditions this weekend,” said Fallin. “I am encouraging all our citizens to be alert and to pay close attention to the weather in their area.”
For the latest information and wildfire daily situation reports visit www.forestry.ok.gov .
For more information on how to be proactive and take steps to protect your home from wildfires, visit the Firewise Communities web site located at http://www.firewise.org/fw_youcanuse/index.htm .