OSU Fire Meteorologist Says Blaze Potential Isn't Going Away

Sunday, January 19th 2014, 7:58 pm
By: Tess Maune

The extreme fire danger will be imminent in Green Country for at least the next week and a half.

We spoke with an Oklahoma State University fire expert about the best ways to protect your property until we get some saturating rain.

"There's plenty of fuel out there to burn, and then couple that with the systems that have been moving in that last week and then is expected to at least the next week and a half to continue," OSU Fire Meteorologist J.D. Carlson said.

1/19/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma 'High And Dry,' Under Wildfire Warnings

Flames snaked through the countryside of Osage County on Saturday as a fiery reminder of what not to do.

"Don't burn. Don't burn," Limestone Volunteer Fire Department's Carl Smith said. "Wait until the wind is still... no more than3 to 5 miles an hour."

It's been a busy few days for Smith and his team, as it has with many other rural fire departments in Green Country.

Smoke was so thick, sections of state highway 20 west of Skiatook had to be shut down Saturday.

Lines of cars were diverted to a new route as a wildfire chewed through fields and eventually took down a home in its path.

Carlson said the fuel most concerning thing this time of year is dead grass, dead leaves, dead wood and Eastern Red Cedar trees.

"It could have rained two hours ago and once you get the sun and the low, relative humidity, they dry it out and a couple hours later and they're ready to burn," he said.

Carlson said the danger won't go away until the winds die down, the humidity levels increase and a saturating rain falls.

1/19/2014 Related Story: Grass Fires Spread Across Green Country

In the meantime, you can protect your home.

Carlson suggests keeping grass short around your property, cut down red cedar trees and make sure your leaves are raked put away.

"Just keep the fuels low around your house for as far out a radius as you can feasibly do, that would be my main recommendation," Carlson said.