Yes, it's tinder box dry here ..... we're just southwest of Okalhoma City.....we're over 11 inches below normal precipitation. The winds were so high two days ago that the embers from the fires were being carried up to 1/4 mile before starting new fires in grass, leaves, scrub oak (which holds its dry leaves), or the explosive native red cedar trees. Fires have even been started by the winds rubbing electrical wires together and producing a spark.
We have had only 1 fire here on the west side and that was quite a few miles north of us. Most of the fires have been on the NE side of the city, or in other parts of the state. The small town of Seminole (east of OKC) had major fires for three days in a row, burning hundreds of acres and outbuildings and over 50 homes. Generally, the goal is to save homes and livestock and stop the fires at the section lines (1 mile intervals). Barns and outbuildings are not a priority and many have been destroyed.
My daughter, Chrissi, is an Oklahoma County Deputy Sheriff, K9 Patrol Division. She has had fires in her patrol area north of the city, but usually she is not called to them because of the smoke's possible effects on her dog. However, she was eventually called on the big one two days ago as she's often called in situations involving livestock.. Three horses had already been lost, closed in a barn at a Quarter Horse "training facility" .... no one home and no one knew the horses were locked in. When Chris arrived, there were 11 other horses trapped in a burning pasture, no way out except onto a busy road with emergency vehicles flying by, no halters, no lead ropes ..... you get the dismal picture. Chris and the others eventually moved the horses to an area with little grass and fire, and then literally chased them over the low fire line by waving anything they could find at them. Even with 11 frightened , loose, horses there were enough people to keep them going the right direction away from the higher flames. They made it out, over the low fire and on to another enclosure, with NO injuries, shortly before the rest of the field totally errupted. The horses were a bit shook up, but all safe. People were a bit shook up too.
The next day Chris put several halters, lead ropes, and a lunge whip in her cruiser with her dog. They'll stay there in case they're needed again.
Today the fire alert is in the "severe" category, but so far only one reported fire in the OKC area. Tomorrow with very unseasonably warm temps (75 expected) and winds predicted to gust to 50 mph, the fire danger will excalate to the "critical" category .... same predicted for Tuesday. The entire state has been under a burning ban for almost 7 weeks, but people still persist in ignoring it. The governor has promised sever retribution for anyone igniting fireworks to celebrate tonight.
Our place has 750' of Interstate Highway frontage, so tossed cigarettes are a concern, but we also have 2 large dry paddocks on that side as well as a plowed field (our now totally dried out and failed winter wheat pasture) that would stop flames.
well i can understand that.... pick life or out buildings .....t's sort of comforting in a weird way, to know their priorities are saving lives .... outbuildings can eventually be replaced lives cannot so please stay safe and my prayers are with everyone affected by this and other disasters. hugs BARB