1-12 FIRE WEATHER: Southern Plains

Severe relatively large fires ongoing now as extremely dry air, near-record warm temps, and moderately windy conditions prevail across much of central/southern OK and into northern and western TX. OK Mesonet shows RH <10% across the southwestern 1/4 of the state, with 10%-20% RH extending northeastward. Winds are generally in the 20-30mph range, with gusts into the 30-40mph range. Current radar image from KTLX indicates three fires to the south, and IR satellite imagery indicates these fires nicely as well.

1-12OKfires.png


IRfire.jpg


EDIT: Channel 4 is currently live with some fire images near Marlow. Helicopter pilot says it's entirely uncontrolled, having burned over (his estimates) 800 acres and spreading rapidly. Helicopters are flying near 5000 ft. to give plenty of room for the firefighting planes/choppers, so the images aren't as good as they had a couple of weeks ago.

EDIT2: Winds are actually stronger behind the front, which is diving into southwestern OK. RH rises in the 25-35% range immediately after FROPA, with temps 10-15F cooler for about 60-80 miles behind the front. The fire that the media copters are on now is a few miles west of Marlow... The winds are currently out of the WSW, though they will change to the W pretty soon, before changing to the NW as the front passes.
 
There's a new fire near Velma now, easily seen on KTLX and IR imagery:
1-12OKfires2.png


The wind has veered to the west near the Marlow fire, with the front and associated northwesterly winds approaching attm (front seen as the radar fine-line north of the Marlow fire). Winds are gusting to near 50mph in northwestern OK.
 
WOW. I am in Wichita Falls right now seeing a friend and didnt see any fires down here. Looks like Oklahoma will be on national news again today. Will be back in Norman tomorrow.
 
Good grief, shades of January 1. I did my Weatherwise column today and it focuses on that January 1 storm on the Southern Plains... should hit newsstands in a month or so. Can't believe we have a near-repeat.

Tim
 
I was out on the fire between Lawton and Duncan (Central, OK) and it got pretty wild.
I was helping my wifes boss protect her kennel.
Here are a couple of video grabs of the planes dropping the retardant right by her back yard.

1_12_2006%205_39%20PM_0002.jpg


1_12_2006%205_35%20PM_0002.jpg


About 5 miles from the fire.

Central%20Fire.JPG
 
I was in Durango, CO during the Missionary Ridge fire in 2001. When the governor of Colorado made the bold claim that his whole state was burning. Turned out only a very small percentage of the state was burning, but tourism suffered severely that year.

I actually remember the day it started, just a small spark from a truck on a steep mountainside. We were on the old Durango-Silverton railroad returning from a hiking trip. There were actually several severe firestorms that swept across dry reservoir beds during the fire. Residents were told to bring their cars and trailers to the middle of the dry lake where they thought it would be safe from fire. They were wrong in a big way, thankfully no one was hurt.

Back on track...how are these fires starting? Is it mainly arson or accidental? Any lightning related or all human caused?
 
Originally posted by B Ozanne
Back on track...how are these fires starting? Is it mainly arson or accidental? Any lightning related or all human caused?

I am not sure how they are starting. Some reports are because power lines are touching each other or trees and starting a few.
I just heard a scanner report that the town of Velma, OK is looking for a couple of people who were spotted starting a fire over there.
The good news is that someone managed to get their license plate information and the police know who they are and right where they live in Velma.
 
Originally posted by B Ozanne

Back on track...how are these fires starting? Is it mainly arson or accidental? Any lightning related or all human caused?

One of the state fire officials said he thought 95%-99% of all fires were / have been started by people. There hasn't been much lightning activity (not like dry thunderstorms in the western US during the summer), and many have started along roads, lending to the idea that either cigarettes or cars are involved in the ignition of most fires.
 
Back
Top