For the second day in a row, numerous grass fires impacted the area Friday as Oklahoma Forestry Services alerted the public of even more critical fire weather today.
Several fires were reported in central Oklahoma Friday, including five grass fires in the Tecumseh area, said Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams. Compared to Thursday's large grass fire that burned 232 acres in Tecumseh, these fires involved 10 to 12 acres at most, he said.
A large fire also burned near Strother and three wildfires also were located in an area between Chandler and Sparks in Lincoln County. Fire crews from several departments, along with Lincoln County Emergency Management and the Red Cross, were among those at that scene.
Plumes of heavy smoke filled the area as that fire spread, so emergency crews shut down traffic along 3470 Road. At least one abandoned mobile home burned but there were no reports of any known injuries.
A Red Flag Fire Warning was in effect when that blaze began. Lincoln County officials on Friday asked everyone to refrain from any controlled burning, welding, or any other activities that may have the potential to start a grass fire. Lincoln County Emergency management officials also reminded smokers that throwing lighted debris (cigarettes) out of a car window while driving is hazardous and illegal and that Lincoln County residents are not allowed to burn trash.
A resident burning trash is what ignited the fire near Tecumseh Thursday that burned 232 acres. That fire also threatened more than 25 homes, Williams reported. He reminded residents that “state law dictates that if a trash service is available for your location then it is illegal to burn household trash.”
Today's fire danger also is expected to be very high. Dry conditions coupled with strong, gusty winds and low humidity mean any fire that starts will spread rapidly.
“As people prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve we are asking them to reconsider the use of fireworks in light of our ongoing drought and the fire weather potential,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. "Tomorrow’s weather calls for critical fire danger and even the smallest ember could spark a blaze. If you decide to celebrate with fireworks, please use extra caution.”
Precautions would include having a source of water on hand and having someone on the lookout for any unintended ignitions. Citizens are also asked to call their nearest fire department if they see or smell smoke.
There are currently no burn bans in place. Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead agency related to wildland fire prevention, protection and use. For additional information about wildfires, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/wildfire-information.