Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 6
April 17 – 7:30 p.m.
WILDFIRES IMPACTING STATE
Due to high fire danger and wildfires that continue to impact Western Oklahoma, the State Emergency Operations Center remains activated. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and is coordinating with Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Forestry Services, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, National Weather Service, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Fire Warning for much of western Oklahoma through midnight. Temperatures in the 90s will combine with very strong south winds gusting to 50 miles per hour and extremely low relative humidity values of 5% to create explosive wildfire growth potential. A cold front will move slowly south across the state late tonight into Wednesday morning. Temperatures will cool, although strong north winds gusting to 40 miles per hour are expected.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency remains in effect for 52 Oklahoma counties due to ongoing wildfires and critical fire weather conditions that began Thursday. 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.
The counties included in the governor’s declaration are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, McClain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
BURN BANS IN EFFECT
A Governor’s Burn Ban remains in effect for 36 counties: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Cimarron, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Major, Noble, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee, Roger Mills, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods, Woodward.
Additional county burn bans are in place for Alfalfa, Canadian, Grant, and Major counties.
Outdoor burning and other activities that could spark a fire are strongly discouraged. Do not throw cigarettes out car windows. Report any suspicious smoke or fires to your local law enforcement or fire authority.
WILDFIRE DAMAGE SURVEY
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is working with Dewey and Woodward County emergency management departments to provide a survey for residents to submit damage information caused by the Rhea Fire and 34 Complex Fire. Residents impacted by the Rhea Fire and 34 Complex Fire can report damages to their property by calling 211 or using the following link http://arcg.is/uK0Te. Reporting damage helps local and state emergency managers better coordinate response and recovery efforts.
SHELTERS AND MASS CARE
Two independent shelters are now open for residents displaced by the Rhea fire:
- First Baptist Church, 301 N. Noble Ave., Watonga
- Elm Grove Community Church, 53502 S. County Rd 226, Chester
American Red Cross and Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief continue to provide meals to firefighters and residents impacted by the Rhea and 34 Complex fires.
American Red Cross is also providing food and beverages to responders at a fire west of Laverne in Beaver County.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports a 61-year-old man died Thursday in Roger MIlls County as a result of injuries sustained in the fire that began southeast of Leedey.
Dewey County Sheriff reports a woman died in her vehicle at a residence near Seiling as a result of the Rhea Fire.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, nine injuries have been reported by area hospitals:
- Smoke inhalation – 3
- Heat-related injuries – 6
Rhea Fire – Evacuations were ordered today for residents in and around Oakwood and areas near Seiling. Oklahoma Forestry Services is providing three heavy air tankers to assist with the fire. Oklahoma City Emergency Management is deploying a four-member Emergency Operations Center Team to provide support. This fire is estimated at 248,589 acres.
34 Complex Fire – This fire remains estimated at 67,776 acres.
Beaver County Emergency Management reports a fire north of US 412 west of Laverne. Forestry is providing support with aerial fire suppression.
Oklahoma County Emergency Management reports a fire at SE 29th Street and Harrah Road. Five fire departments are responding.
Additional fires have been reported in Pushmataha and Texas counties.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports US-270 is closed in Beckham and Dewey counties between the US-270/SH-33 junction and Seiling. Traffic is detoured on SH-33 & US-183.
HOW TO HELP – DONATION INFORMATION
When disaster strikes, the best way to support survivors of emergencies or disasters in Oklahoma is with cash donations to reputable voluntary organizations or disaster funds. Cash donations allow relief organizations or survivors to purchase what they need, when and where they need it. Buying supplies locally helps the local community recover by helping local businesses pay salaries and by keeping tax revenues in the community.
Cash donations may be sent to the following relief funds:
- Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation - Make checks payable to Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation with “Fire Relief” in the memo line and mail to P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148 or donate online at www.okcattlemen.org
- Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Foundation - Make checks payable to the Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Foundation with “Wildfire Relief” in the memo line and mail to 2501 N. Stiles, Oklahoma City, OK 73105 or donate online at www.okfarmingandranching.org
- Oklahoma Farmers Union Foundation - Make checks payable to Farmers Union Foundation, Inc., with “Wildfire Relief” in the memo line and mail to the attention of Wildfire Relief at P.O. Box 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124.
Cash donations may also be sent to volunteer fire departments, local churches, and voluntary organizations responding to the fires, including the American Red Cross and Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service is organizing donations of fencing supplies, hay, supplemental livestock feed, and milk replacer for calves that lost their mothers. Anyone impacted by the fires and in need of these items may call Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension at (405) 590-0106, (405) 496-9329 or (405) 397-7912. Anyone who would like to donate the items listed above may also the numbers above to offer donations. They will match up people who have items or services to donate with producers needing help to rebuild fences, transport hay and similar farm and ranch activities.
Other donated items are not needed or requested at this time. Do not send unsolicited donations of used clothing, miscellaneous items or perishable foods, which must be sorted, warehoused, transported and distributed. This requires more efforts and staffing to manage those resources and takes away from recovery efforts.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS
Information for farmers or ranchers with livestock, crop, hay, fence, equipment, or other losses is available on the following USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Public Assistance Fact Sheet:
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry recommends producers who have lost livestock should contact their County FSA as soon as possible to see if assistance may be available. County FSA contact information is available at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=ok&agency=fsa
Orphaned Calf Relief of southwest Kansas is willing to take in orphaned calves. The calves will be returned to the producer at no cost. Oklahoma cow-calf producers impacted by recent wildfires are asked to please call (405) 590-0106 as soon as possible.
FIRE MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE GRANTS SECURED
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state’s request for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) for the 34 Complex Fire in Woodward County and Rhea Fire that began in Dewey County. The grants will help reimburse local governments, volunteer fire departments and other first responders for costs associated with responding to the fires. The authorization makes FEMA funding available to reimburse 75 percent of state, local and tribal government eligible firefighting costs for the designated fires. Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Agencies are advised to document all costs related to equipment and supplies (including fuel), labor costs, travel and per diem, temporary repairs of damage caused by firefighting activities, mobilization and demobilization. OEM will continue to assess the need for additional federal assistance.
PRICE GOUGING STATUTE IN EFFECT
The Emergency Price Stabilization Act is in effect for the 52 counties listed in the governor’s State of Emergency executive order, which prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent for the price of goods and services after a declared emergency. Additionally, the act allows the attorney general to pursue charges against individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging.
The act is in effect for 30 days after the State of Emergency. It remains in effect for another 180 days for prices for repairs, remodeling and construction. For more information or to report a complaint, individuals are encouraged to contact the Consumer Protection Unit by phone at (405) 521-2029, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.