Friday, January 09, 2009

Raging winds, fire dangers

Escaping! Evacuating...all the same when you have this rushing your way.
Firefighters advise residents on course of action.
Oklahoma scenes, Central High area, northwest of Marlow.

The wind is raging here in southern Oklahoma right now. And the fire danger is high. Reminds me of 2006. Today fires shut down highway 7 east of Velma. Very reminiscent of three years ago.
Here's some old shots. For those who weren't here, it was a devastating fire season, in Oklahoma and Texas. I was on one end of the county covering fires north of Marlow and could see the smoke from fires more than 30 miles away. That's insane! I don't remember how many miles I drove that day and evening in covering, but I do remember escaping from a fast moving fire. That was scary. The worst thing though was right after that I returned to the newsroom and another reporter and I heard the most distressing scanner 'chatter' ever, as two firefighters were not so lucky and were trapped. One of them died.
Oklahoma has been very dry this year and when the wind rages like this, combined with the dry conditions, fires flare up. Do what you can to fireproof your homes. Keep debris removed, like dry firewood, shrubbery, etc. Make sure you have a fire escape plan and always know where your car keys are! Also, have water faucets outside in running order and get water hoses. Keep your lawns watered and the plants around your home. The moisture helps.

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