Red Flag Fire Warning Sat 8/11 for NW/WC OK

Okiedawn OK Zone 7August 11, 2012

The NWS has issued a Red Flag Fire Warning for 9 counties in northwestern through west-central OK. It is in effect from 1 pm through 9 pm today.

The affected counties are highlighted in pink on the NWS map located on the page linked below. To read the text of the warning, just click on any pink county to get its forecast and there will be a link there for the Red Flag Fire Warning.

For those of us who are not in the area covered by the Red Flag Fire Warning, the fire weather conditions still will be high to very high today, but they are not to expected to be extreme.

Please keep an eye on your local weather. If conditions worsen during the day, the Red Flag Fire Warning could be expanded and extended to other areas during the day, as it has been once or twice recently. Remember, too, the NWS can issued a Red Flag Fire Warning any time, so don't assume that just because you don't have one at this moment that you won't have one later.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: NWS Norman Office Website

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adellabedella_usa

Is there a good location that shows current fires? We've had so many around here lately, I'd like a place I check in and look.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 6:27PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Not as far as I know. It is sort of hit and miss in this state. I have about a dozen different ways I try to catch the latest fire news and post it here if I think any of our forum members have wildfire and/or evacuations near them.

One way to see the location of very large fires is on one of the websites that show you the NOAA Satellite Fire Detection data. They analyze the satellite data and put a 'dot' on the map to show the location of each fire. My DH and I commonly refer to it as the dot map. Unfortunately, the fires have to be big before they show up on the dot map, so it won't have fires that have just broken out in the last half-hour or hour. I'll link the dot map below. It updates frequently, but because it is based on analyzed data, there's always a little bit of a time lag. If you are checking it often during the day, remember to hit refresh so it pulls up the latest data.

You can check with your county's Emergency Management Director to see if he or she has any way that they routinely send out news alerts, including breaking news of fires or tornadoes or whatever. Ours sends out such alerts on Nixle.us and anyone can sign up to get them.

Some counties that maintain a county website put fire news on their website---at least during business hours. Some fire departments do the same, and some fire departments and emergency management directors use Twitter or Facebook to alert their citizens of fires in the area.

If there is a fire in your area and you are pretty sure it is in your county, sometimes you can go to radioreference.com and use it like a scanner to listen to your county's fire channel (if it is available for Web audio listening) on radioreference.com. There's also a smartphone app at that website. I used that website last week to track the fires in Cleveland County when our firefighters were up there helping fight them. Not all counties are available via radioreference, but many of them are.

For large, ongoing multiday fires, you can go to the Oklahoma Forestry Services webpage and check the daily wildfire situation report at both the state level and the higher areas, like the southern area or the national inciweb system.

Sometimes, on bad wildfire days, the NWS offices will put up radar with the current smoke plumes from large fires circled on them to show us where they are. Also, at the request of local county emergency officials, the NWS will issue a Fire Warning (different from a Red Flag Fire Warning) in the case of evacuations. When they do this, the alert feature on your weather radio sounds to alert you and is followed by an evacuation message.

I also use the different local media websites. Most of the TV stations in central and northeastern OK get fire news up really quickly, usually with live streaming reports including video footage from a chopper. Often I click on KOCO or KFOR and first learn of a fire there, and then start hitting other websites to pick up the latest news.

If we lived in Texas, they have a Google map feature on their Texas Forest Service website that shows working fires, their size and the amount of containment. It is really handy, but we don't have it here. I use it to track fires near me but across the river, since I am surrounded by Texas on three sides.

Some counties have a reverse-9-1-1 system that calls homeowners and warns them of hazards, including dangerous weather and fire evacuations.

So, as you can see, there's lots of way you may be able to find the news, but it is not necessarily easy.

The dot map is linked below. It is the NOAA Satellite Fire Detection site and is available via OKFIRE via the OKMesonet.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: NOAA Satellite Fire Detection Site

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 6:09PM
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adellabedella_usa

Thank you! I didn't know about reverse 911. Not sure if we have it here.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome.

Some counties have reverse 9-1-1 systems that are used in various ways. In the county we lived in down in Texas, they used it in the late 1980s and 1990s to call elderly people who lived alone at a set time daily. (The elderly person selected the time.) If the phone range and the elderly person did not answer it, the computer calling program would call back again in a few minutes. If they didn't answer it then, the 9-1-1 dispatcher received a 'welfare check' message and sent someone--a cop, a firefighter, etc. to check on the welfare of that person. I thought that was a great service our little town provided to its elderly residents.

Nowadays, the cities that have them use them in many ways, and fire evacuation is just one of them.

You could check with your city or county to see if they have a reverse 9-1-1 system or if they use nixle.com or something similar to send out civil emergency messages to citizens who sign up for the service.

I saw a news story last night with horrifying numbers from the big wildfire outbreak--over 600 homes destroyed or damaged and an estimated 85% were not insured or were under-insured. While it is tragic that one deceased person was found in a burned home after the fires were extinguished, it is incredible that there was only one fatality. That alone shows us that, one way or another, people were getting the word to evacuate and were getting out of the areas at risk, and that's a wonderful thing.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:01PM
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