Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 3
March 12, 2011 4:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
WILDFIRE RECOVERY UNDERWAY
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has returned to normal operations. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) staff remains in contact with emergency managers in the areas affected by wildfires.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency remains in effect for all 77 Oklahoma counties as declared by Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday. Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
Warm temperatures today will give way to colder conditions on Sunday as a cold front moves south of the state. Warmer temperatures will return by mid week along with elevated fire concerns.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 15 people were injured in Friday’s fires. This includes 6 who sustained minor burns and 9 who sustained smoke inhalation, 6 of whom were firefighters treated on the scene in Harrah.
Today fires were reported in LeFlore County in the Sugarloaf Mountain area, where more than 100 acres burned, and in Hughes County southwest of Wetumka, where more than 3,500 acres burned.
On Friday, more than 42 fires were reported statewide, Oklahoma Forestry officials report. Some of the largest fires were located in Creek, Grady, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Stephens and Tulsa counties.
The American Red Cross has opened a Client Service Center for anyone affected by the wildfires at Harmony Christian Church, 7100 S. Choctaw Road in Harrah. The center will be open today until 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m. After Sunday, or for anyone outside Harrah, the American Red Cross can be reached at (405) 228-9500.
Nurses from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department are offering free tetanus shots for those affected by the wildfires in Oklahoma County. Residents are reminded to make sure they have received a tetanus vaccine within the last 10 years when working around disaster areas. Contact the Choctaw or Harrah fire departments for more information.
The following preliminary damage assessments were received from the American Red Cross and local emergency managers.
Oklahoma County (Harrah, Midwest City and Choctaw)
30 homes destroyed
1 home major damage
1 home minor damage
5 homes affected
Pottawatomie County (Bethel-Shawnee-Twin Lakes area)
4 homes destroyed
Numerous outbuildings were also destroyed and damaged.
Today, a Tanker Task Force from Logan County was deployed through the State EOC to provide assistance to firefighters in Harrah. The task force includes brush trucks and a command vehicle.
Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been approved for Friday’s fires in Harrah, Shawnee, Goldsby and Midwest City/Choctaw. The FMAGs will provide recovery assistance to fire departments and other emergency organizations to help cover expenses related to responding to the fire. OEM has applied for FMAGs on fires in other jurisdictions as well and is awaiting approval.
PRICE GOUGING STATUTE IN EFFECT
Oklahoma’s price gouging statute remains in effect in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties due to the State of Emergency. The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a State of Emergency has been declared. Anyone who suspects price gouging is urged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.
Fire danger is still high to very high across the state and numerous burn bans remain in effect, Oklahoma Forestry Services reports. Oklahomans are reminded to obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is a major cause of wildfires in Oklahoma and under these conditions any fire can threaten homes and communities.
Oklahoma’s Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.
For more information on Firewise and how you can prepare for wildfires, go to the Oklahoma Forestry Services’ website www.forestry.ok.gov.
Oklahomans are reminded to report any suspicious wild land fire activity to the Arson Tip Line 1-866-662-7766 (1-866-NO-ARSON)
Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant