Forestry Service Warns Wildfires Will Be Harder To Put Out

Monday, February 6th 2017, 5:29 pm

Low Humidity, high winds, and high temperatures will mean most of the state is facing high fire danger this week. In addition, the State Forestry Service has now sent out an alert to all fire departments warning wildfires will be difficult to get under control.

“It’s the first time they ever issued it for Oklahoma as far as I know,” said Deer Creek Fire Chief Cory Beagles.

The Forestry Services advisory is due to a critical increase in fuels for the fire. A longer growing season means grass is taller than usual, which allows the fire to keep burning the undergrowth 10 feet behind the fire line. In addition, trees are so dry now they are now more likely to burn.

“If a fire encounters those heavy fuels they will combust and that will result in hotter burning fires, more intense fires, that causes control problems for firefighters out on the ground,” said Andy James with the Oklahoma Forestry Service.

James says the trees are known as 1,000-hour fuels because that's how long it takes for them to burn out.

“Because we’ve had so many ice storms and all those types of wind events over the last couple of years, all that debris on the ground right now has reached a stage where it’s dried out and ready to burn,” added Beagles.

The Forestry Service says if conditions continue they will likely bring in resources from other states to be ready to help fight the fires.