Much of the state of Oklahoma was in a critical state of warning regarding conditions ripe for fires for some time. With a prolonged dry spell throughout the state combined with windy weather, wildfires raged across Oklahoma and neighboring states, destroying land and homes. The situation was dire, and a burn ban was in place for some time, calling for residents to take precautions.
The following issue report will give you details of the burn ban, areas that had been affected throughout the metro, tips for fire prevention around your home and important contact information for emergencies.
As of the beginning of 2006, fires across the state of Oklahoma had already caused tremendous damage. Many homes had been destroyed and nearly 600,000 acres were burned. At least one person was killed, and numerous injuries were reported. It was one of the bigger safety challenges the state had faced in some time.
The cause was relatively simple. An extreme dry spell throughout the state left Oklahoma over a foot below normal rainfall measurements for some time of the year. Combined with unseasonably warm weather and strong winds, the fire danger was critical dating back to the beginning of November 2005.
Sunday, January 1, 2006 was one of the more damaging as fires raged all across the state. Firefighters took on more than 30 fires around Oklahoma. Guthrie saw destructive grass fires as the OKC metro area had to contend with large blazes at 63rd and Sooner and NE 50th and Kelley. Over 81,000 acres were destroyed in a 24 hour period and over a dozen homes lost.
Needless to say, Oklahoma was in a state of emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved federal assistance to battle the fires, and precautions were taken throughout the state. Strict burn bans were in effect from November of 2005 to near the end of March, 2006 before being lifted and then put back into place again the very next week. The ban was again lifted in early May after a welcome period of rain.
No part of the state has been safe from danger. Conditions had been optimal for fire throughout Oklahoma for some time, though, and every area needs to be diligent about precautions.
Oklahoma City covers a very large geographical area and includes quite a bit of undeveloped land and fields. Fires have been reported in many Oklahoma counties in 2006, including an August grassfire in North OKC that prompted the return of the burn ban.