Due to the severe wildfires across the state, and a tornado touchdown in LeFlore County, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains at Level Two activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
A powerful early spring storm system moved into Oklahoma today. This system caused very strong westerly winds to move across much of central and western Oklahoma. These winds brought very dry air with them and when combined with warm afternoon temperatures, provided conditions very favorable for wildfires. The growing season has started in parts of Oklahoma but drought conditions continue in many areas. This made wildfire conditions worse as dry or dormant vegetation allowed for rapid wildfire growth.
The wildfire threat will continue Friday and Saturday. Rainfall is expected across much of the state late Saturday into Sunday, temporarily reducing the wildfire threat.
The Oklahoma Department of Health reports 62 injuries across the state. One severe injury is reported in the Lindsay area, where a motorist lost vehicular control on a smoke-covered road. A Lincoln County firefighter is listed in serious, but stable, condition at the Integris Baptist Medical Center, in Oklahoma City. The remaining Wildfire injuries are all categorized from minor to moderate. Five individuals were injured in the LeFlore County tornado. They were each transported to Arkansas hospitals and four remain hospitalized with moderate injuries.
Community shelters are currently open in the following locations:
• Midwest City Community Center, Midwest City
• 1st Baptist Church, Nicoma Park
Cash donations are being accepted by all disaster voluntary agencies. People wishing to donate can go to http://www.ok.gov for recommendations.
The Salvation Army has 9 mobile feeding canteens spread across the state to support responders as well as the shelter population.
The Southern Baptist Men’s disaster response has been supporting the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army Shelters and Emergency Response vehicles by establishing Cooking sites in Duncan/Grady county area through the Southern Baptist Churches in those community. Additionally, they are at Nicoma Park 1st Baptist church to support feeding and sheltering. They continue to support feeding at the Midwest City Community center.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has been checking their Vulnerable client checks in Carter Co, Grady, Garvin, and City of Choctaw.
Reports from emergency management organizations throughout the state have identified in excess of 100 homes destroyed. The larger numbers seem to be in south central Oklahoma and eastern Oklahoma County. Additionally, numerous outbuildings have been destroyed. The following are reports received from local jurisdictions.
Carter County: 29 homes and 3 businesses destroyed
Grady County: 15 homes and 3 businesses destroyed
McClain County: 10-15 homes destroyed
Oklahoma County: 100 structures destroyed (Midwest City – 12 homes destroyed; Choctaw – 58 homes destroyed)
Cleveland County: 11 homes and 6 mobile homes destroyed
Murray County: 5 homes destroyed
Stephens County: 16 homes destroyed
Payne County and others: Still pending damage assessments by their local Emergency Managers.
Reports from the Rural Electric Cooperatives:
Total Cooperatives experiencing outages and damages from wildfires, high winds, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms: 9 (8 distribution cooperatives, 1 generation-transmission cooperative. (Central Rural Electric, Stillwater; Rural Electric, Lindsay; Red River Valley REA, Marietta; Northfork Electric, Sayre; Canadian Valley Electric, Seminole; Cotton Electric, Walters; Northeast Electric, Vinita; Caddo Electric, Binger; and Western Farmers Electric, Anadarko)
Total number of structures lost to date: 336 distribution structures; 6 transmission structures
Estimated damages (preliminary only): $447,300.00
Total Consumer Outages at Peak: 3,557
Total Remaining Consumer Outages: (not all are residential; most are non-residential or oil-field accounts) 31
Counties affected: Lincoln, Payne, Garvin, Stephens, Carter, Love, Beckham, Roger Mills, Craig and Caddo
Note: Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s losses were due to a small tornado in Craig County that also damaged their Cooperative headquarters office west of Vinita; Northfork Electric Cooperative and Caddo Electric Cooperative had outages and damages resulting from excessively high winds – in excess of 60 miles per hour; the rest of the Cooperatives listed above incurred outages and damages from yesterday’s wildfires.
The state has requested Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and all five have been approved. They are the McClain County Fire Complex, the Midwest City/Choctaw Fire Complex, Healdton/Carter County Complex, the Velma Complex and the Mulhall/Payne County Complex.
These FMAGs will provide recovery assistance to fire departments and other emergency organizations for the expense of resources necessary to respond.
Federal/State Preliminary Damage Assessment Teams will be surveying areas beginning Monday afternoon. Assistance for individuals, who are victims of these fires, is based on the amount of “uninsured” loss caused by the disaster.