Fire Danger Remains High, Oklahoma Forestry Services Warn

Saturday, March 12th 2011, 2:22 pm
By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fire danger is still high to very high across Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. Although conditions have improved since Friday's outbreak of wildfires across the state, numerous burn bans are in effect and extreme caution is urged.

Crews with the Forestry Services responded to 42 fires totally over 8,600 acres on the east side of the state, according to a news release. Forestry Services coordinated aircraft worked four fires. At one point, all the department's resources were committed.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 15 people were injured in Friday's fires. This includes six who sustained minor burns and nine who sustained smoke inhalation, six of whom were firefighters treated on the scene in Harrah.

"Events like those of yesterday are sobering reminders of wildfire's destructive potential," said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. "It is important for people living in wildland urban interface areas to prepare for wildfire and have a plan in the event a wildfire is approaching."

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 Saturday.

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.