Photo Credit, KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City
A controlled burn* that got out of control due to high winds Sunday night has burned over 3,000 acres near Guthrie, Oklahoma, just north of Oklahoma City. Over 20 homes and out-structures have been raised and 1 life has been lost, with over 1000 residents evacuated. Though 75% contained as of Monday afternoon, high winds and hot, dry weather continue to fuel the fast-moving fire and 150 homes remain under threat.
Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV is keeping a running blog of updates on the Logan County fire.
In speaking with Brian Hall this morning, Forest Health/Protection Staff Foster with the Oklahoma Forest Services, he stressed the importance of “defensible space concepts,” explaining that this focuses residents on easy to do activities that reduce the wildfire threat to homes. As the fire unfolds, Oklahoma Forest Services wants residents to take responsibility of creating defensible space for firefighters so they can be more effective and safe around homes and within communities. Firewise principles echo this important message.
Brain also shared that while Eastern Red Cedar, prevalent in Oklahoma, does pose a challenge when containing wildfires, it is not the main reason wildfires continues to burn out of control. He noted that the combination of cured vegetation and high winds are the reasons they are having issues regarding current containment efforts.
The fire in Logan County reminds us that even with grass fires, the threat of blowing embers from a wildfire or structural fire can pose a risk to surrounding homes and property under windy conditions up to a mile away.
You can learn more about preparedness information from Oklahoma Forest Services.
Firewise principles of debris clearing and ignition zone considerations also help residents understand the risk embers can cause and see the value in steps they can take to reduce exposure.
There are 42 recognized Firewise Communities in Oklahoma. We encourage all those residents to share wildfire risk information with their neighbors and neighboring communities.
*Correction: At time of publishing, news reports focused on a controled burn as the casue of the fire. Subsequent reports have raised questions as to the cause.)