Conditions in Oklahoma are looking ripe for a very busy winter fire season. Fire managers with Oklahoma Forestry Services are monitoring drought conditions, fuel loads and weather forecasts while bracing for an active end to 2017.
And, early 2018 is predicted to be even worse with near to above normal temperatures and less than normal precipitation statewide, plus an above average availability of fuels that mean potential increased fire size. Fuels are grasses, branches, leaves and drought stricken trees that are available as fuel for a fire outbreak.
“This increased availability of fuels typically means that any fire that starts has the potential to grow large very quickly under fire weather conditions,” said Mark Goeller, Fire Management Chief for Oklahoma Forestry Services. “Through the combined effort with our partners with the National Weather Service, we’ve gotten so much better at accurately predicting fire outbreaks and this allows us to preposition firefighters and stage aircraft to quickly respond to new fires.”
Quick response by local and state resources means smaller fire size and safer conditions for those battling the blazes as well as better notification of those living the predicted fire areas. Oklahomans are being asked to heed the warning and begin to look around their homes and property for ways to make it more defensible in the event of wildfire.
50 Ways to Make your Home Firewise is a great resource for homeowners. It includes everything from no cost actions like relocating firewood stacks and propane grills to more costly suggestions like modifying driveways to accommodate fire trucks. A social media campaign highlighting a tip of the day will get underway so that Oklahomans can get daily reminders of how their mitigation activities can contribute to the survivability of their homes.
The brochure is available for download at www.forestry.ok.gov and tips will be posted daily on www.facebook.com/OklahomaForestry.
Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead agency related to wildland fire prevention and protection. For additional information about wildfires, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/wildfire-information.