Oklahoma: Numerous Fires Burning in the West, Situation Not Improving

The fire environment unfortunately lived up to the forecast and predictions yesterday with significant fire activity in Oklahoma. Very strong burning conditions in western Oklahoma during the overnight hours on the heels of blow-up conditions during the afternoon drove fires to meet the rate of fire spread predictions. Numerous evacuations have been established and are ongoing in northwest Oklahoma.

An extremely complex fire environment will be in place today with a cold front forecast to impact the ongoing fires as well as new fire occurrence expected. A more widespread Red Flag Warning will be in place today with a dry line pushing east complicated by a cold front.

Northwest Oklahoma:

Very poor overnight recovery with no relaxation of the burning period will be intensified as a dry line again pushes east. Ongoing fires will be impacted in the pre-frontal environment by relative humidity values of 9-15% promoting very receptive fuels and fire spread pushed by southwest winds 18-25 mph gusting 30-45 mph.

Winds will shift clockwise through the day to northwest by nightfall as a slowed frontal boundary approaches. Relative humidity values will improve in the post-frontal environment; however persistent drying will retain fuel receptiveness and wind speeds will likely overcome moisture improvement.

Western / Central Oklahoma:

Ahead of the cold front, very dry conditions will push into and east of the I-35 corridor along with southwest winds 20-30 mph gusting in excess of 40 mph at times. Early morning showers south of OKC will serve as little offset as they eject to the east with the dryness of the atmosphere pushing just ahead of the cold front.

Hazardous fire behavior will occur with any new fire occurrence. Potential for explosive fire growth will be present in the heavily populated I-35 corridor today.

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