Governor Fallin declares State of Emergency due to wildfires

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published 11-Mar-2011

Governor Mary Fallin on Friday, March 11 declared a State of Emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties due to devastating wildfires around the state.  Already more than two dozen fires have been reported throughout the state causing evacuations in some areas.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all Oklahomans who have been impacted by these fires as well as our emergency responders in harms’ way,” Fallin said. “We know homes, as well as other property, have been lost and we will work to do everything we can to help Oklahomans during their time of need.”

Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), city and rural fire departments are engaged in battling several large fires burning east of a line running from the Kansas border along I-35 to Oklahoma City and south along I-44 toward Lawton. Aerial support has been heavily utilized on fires in Beggs, Harrah, Goldsby, Newcastle and Shawnee and OFS personnel continue responding to requests.

“Under these extreme fire conditions this is NOT the time to stay in a home being threatened by fire and we are urging people to heed any request to evacuate,” said State Forester George Geissler. “If you are in your car, do not drive into smoke. Limited visibility can result in accidents. The safety of the public and firefighters is of utmost concern at this time.”

Red flag warnings were issued for the entire state and people are urged to be extremely cautious with any outdoor activities that could spark wildfires. Stay tuned to local media sources for the latest in evacuations.

Under the Executive Order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.