Fire danger will continue in Oklahoma throughout the week.
Last week in Pottawatomie County, there were two significant grass fires. The one in Maud reportedly burned around 60 acres and the Tecumseh fire department responded to several calls involving grass fires.
Statewide, the Oklahoma Forestry Services and the National Weather Service are closely monitoring weather conditions.
Western Oklahoma continues to be fall into the high-risk category in the beginning stages of wildfire season.
The Fire Situation Report issued by the Oklahoma Forestry Services for Jan. 29 indicates western Oklahoma and the panhandle will see the greatest risk of wildfires through Wednesday. With winds expected in the 15-30 mph range and gusts up to 35 mph, rapid to extreme rates of fire spread are possible.
That same report shows there were two fires in the east central part of the state that burned 5.5 acres. There were 10 fires in the northeast portion of the state that burned an estimated 148.1 acres.
The Tecumseh Fire Department responded to four small grass fires along Highway 9 around 10 p.m. Sunday, but those fires were contained by Tecumseh and Earlsboro Fire Departments, Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said.
In a special note to the public, the Oklahoma Forestry Services said that many folks over the weekend elected to burn brush piles, conduct prescribed burns and burn other debris. With critical fire weather in the forecast and including strong winds and very repetitive fuels such as grass and leaves, they are asking that those fires are completely out.
They suggest thoroughly dousing brush and debris burns with water to they point that they are dead out. Check any burns from previous days for residual heat and stirring water thoroughly through the ashes.
Pottawatomie County is not currently under a burn ban.
In 2010, Governor Brad Henry approved House Bill 3210, which modified the Oklahoma Forestry Services Code to empower Boards of County Commissioners to ban outdoor burning for up to a 30-day period.
Prior to passage of a burn-ban resolution, the Pottawatomie CountyBoard of County Commissioners must declare the existence of extreme fire danger. As defined in the law, extreme fire danger means:
1. Severe, extreme, or exceptional drought conditions exist within the county as determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
2. No more than one-half (1/2) inch of precipitation is forecast for the next three (3) days by the National Weather Service.
3. Fire occurrence is significantly greater than normal for the season and/or initial attack on a significant number of wild and fires has been unsuccessful due to extreme fire behavior.
4. Where data is available, more than twenty percent (20%) of the wildfires in the county have been caused by escaped debris burning or controlled burning.
For additional information, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/wildfire-information.