Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 1
April 5, 2011 5:45 p.m.
CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
STATE EOC ACTIVATED DUE TO WILDFIRES
Due to the severe fire conditions across the state, the State Emergency Operations Center is at Level Three activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas. Additionally, OEM is working with the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Forestry Services, National Weather Service and Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency remains in effect for all 77 Oklahoma counties as declared by Gov. Mary Fallin for wildfires on March 11. 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 and dry conditions combined with dormant vegetation contributed to extreme wildfire conditions today. Very dry air will remain across the state tonight allowing very high fire danger to continue into the overnight hours. Extreme wildfire conditions are likely Wednesday and Thursday across parts of the state.
-- McAlester/Pittsburg County Emergency Management reports a large fire eight miles north of McAlester on Highway 69. The fire is in terrain that cannot be accessed by equipment or personnel. Approximately 50 homes are threatened by the fire. A National Guard helicopter is providing water drops on this fire. Also in Pittsburg County, fires are reported five miles south of Kiowa, two miles west of Blocker Store in the northeast area of the county and at Highway 113 and Rodgers Road. State Forestry Services is providing assistance on these fires.
-- Okmulgee County Emergency Management reports a large fire in the Twin Areas, burning north toward Bixby. State Forestry is providing assistance on this fire.
-- Custer County Emergency Management reports a fire north of Thomas in Dewey County. Two Seismic (private contractor) helicopters are assisting with water drops. No assistance requested on this fire.
-- Stephens County Emergency Management reports a large fire near Marlow.
The State EOC is working with the Oklahoma National Guard to provide aerial fire suppression via Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters equipped with buckets. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is assisting with ground to air fire observation via OHP helicopter. Oklahoma Forestry Services is providing ground firefighting equipment.
The American Red Cross reports they are providing canteen services on the fire near Marlow.
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 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.
For more information on how you can prepare for wildfires, go to the Oklahoma Forestry Services’ website 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