Oklahoma Burning

Dec 13, 2003
Wellston, Oklahoma
Currently we are way behind on precipitation, and this combined with high winds, low humidity, and a fuel load that didn't burn last season...well, it is shaping up to be one of the worst wildfire seasons in Oklahoma history. Our fire dept. responded on 2 1000+ acre fires for mutual aid, and we have been running a ton of them in our own district, including a 200+ acre one last week. This is where I spent yesterday:


It's going to be a long season. Already, 2 counties have become eligable for FEMA aid due to the fires (for cost's associated with fighting the fires), and we have numerous National Response Wildland Firefighting groups camped in Oklahoma.
Wow, that looks very bad. I am aware of the fires going on, and I am wondering when they will slow down, or be stopped either by unnatural or natural causes. I hope it all works out, however...
I had the pleasure of visiting the inlaws on sunday... 50+mph gusts with 20-35mph sustained winds down the interstate. Fun. Now add blowing dust, and some huge grass fires off the west side of I-35 and you have an enjoyable trip. For awhile it was hard to breathe... should of brought some masks :p

We've got the same problem here in Texas. Burn bans are up all across the state and now they are even putting the ban on some fireworks. I don't think we've had any substantial rain since this summer---a long, long time ago.
I think parts of Eastern Oklahoma are around 12" below normal for the year.
fires near Tulsa

About 60,000 acres burned in Eastern Oklahoma on 11/27, 11/28.

I took these two Wagoner county pics 1 mile south and 1 mile east of my house. Five homes were consumed in this fire... notice the trailer tire is still smoldering.


Just got back in town after driving to TUL on the 27th. The scenes along I-40 and Hwy 75 in eastern Ok were, not trying to sound to corny, a vision from hell. In the Okemah/Henryetta areas, massive fires north and south of I-40 lit up the night sky in an eerie orange glow, with smoke streaming across the highway, along with burning embers...I was surprised they hadn't shut I-40 down east of Okemah..I know they did later near Checotah. Hwy 75 was the same..at one point near Okmulgee the flames were just feet away from the highway on both sides....it was like driving through a tunnel of fire. Saw several "firenadoes" as well.
Quite a bit of minor wind damage around Tulsa and Broken Arrow from the winds...lots of fences down and many roofs had at least minor shingle damage, with several outbuildings blown away.
Also saw the first snowflakes of the season (for me) in TUL on Monday. Hell of a a system!

We are in a hellacious drought here in Palestine, TX, though we did get some good rains a few nights ago. We're at 26.76" so far and we should be at 46.10". At 26.76" we're about on par with Lawton, Vernon, or Abilene on a normal year.

The ironic thing is that it's helped my house construction project, which has been ongoing since April. Until today, all of the framing was exposed to the elements. It's been open like that for nearly half a year and all the lumber and plywood is still in great shape.

Then again since it's in a pine forest, my next priority is clearing out the saplings and needles in case a forest fire gets going out there. This drought is ridiculous.

Oklahoma City set a record for the driest November on record, getting only a trace of precipitation for the entire month.

7th driest autumn on record (Sept, Oct, Nov) recording only 3.06 inches total for the 3 months.

EDIT: Wichita Falls set a record for the driest November on record as well, record NO precipitation for the entire month.
Let me just add a report from my part of the world. So far we've been having two consecutive rain-free weeks and the there is no rain in sight for the next week, and this is quite rare for the end of November and December.

And in addition, today the record high temperature for December in Jerusalem was broken. 28 C was measured today, and the previous record was 27 on the 4th of December, 1879. The average maximum temperature for December is 14.
And in the Netherlands we had the warmest autumn since records began back in 1706. Actually it was a tie with the mean autumn temperature of 1731. :roll:
No drought problems over here though. Hopefully OK and TX will receive significant rain before the next storm season!