Oklahoma City has many square miles of brush and pasture within City limits, and is surrounded by much more. Wildfires can occur all year.
Red Flag and Fire Warnings
The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Red Flag Warning when weather conditions for wildfires are highly favorable. A Fire Warning is an urgent message issued at the request of local officials to share detailed evacuation information with the public about an active wildfire.
Three Main Causes of Wildfires in OKC
- Smoking materials thrown from vehicles.
- Trash burning.
- Children playing with fire.
Never discard smoking materials out of a moving vehicle.
Obey all burn bans. When it is lawful to burn legally, pay close attention to wind\weather conditions and extinguish your fire.
If your fire gets out of control, you are legally responsible for any damage caused.
Please report any illegal\unsafe burning as soon as possible.
Keep matches and lighters safely stored away from children.
If You See a Wildfire
Close all entrances, windows, and other openings to prevent sparks from blowing inside your house and igniting flammables.
Have tools and water accessible. Have a shovel, rake, and long water hose readily available.
Dress to protect yourself. Wear cotton/woolen clothing including long pants, a long sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
If your roof is made of wood or shake shingles, wet it down with a garden hose or a sprinkler to reduce the risk of fire.
If you use natural gas or propane, turn it off at the tank or meter.
Back as many vehicles as possible into the garage and then close the garage door.
In the event that you evacuate, close the garage door behind you. If evacuating and you have cars that cannot fit into the garage, park them away from the house and pointing in the direction of evacuation.
When called to evacuate or conditions warrant, take your family and pets to a safe location.
Follow local television stations, radio, and online news sources to stay updated on concerns in your area, and the weather that often increases wildfire risk.
Remember to obey all orders given by fire officers, especially when leaving or entering an area that is involved in fires.
Never drive to a wildfire scene. You'll interfere with life-saving rescue and firefighting efforts.
Creating a Safe Fire Landscape
To create a fire safe landscape, remember that the primary goal is to reduce the fuel a fire can consume. It helps to look at property in zones to understand the dangers in better detail.
Zone One: This zone is a well-irrigated area surrounding your house for at least 30 feet on all sides.
Keep your home's exterior in good repair with painted or treated exposed wood surfaces, and cover or screen openings for the crawl space, porch, floor, roof and attic.
Keep roofs and gutters clear of debris like leaves and dead limbs. Consider installing gutter guards. Replace wood shingles with less combustible roofing materials like class-A asphalt shingles, terra-cotta, or metal as soon as possible.
Mow your lawn regularly, and dispose of grass clippings properly. On your final cut of the year, make sure to cut your grass short to reduce the risk of the fire spreading to your home.
Remove combustible shrubs like cedars, sage and evergreens, etc. that are within 20’ feet of your home. Remove shrubs from underneath trees inside your safe zone. Prune your trees and shrubs up to 6 feet to 10 feet from the ground, and remove leaf clutter and dead and overhanging branches.
Give yourself added protection with fuel breaks like driveways, gravel walkways and lawns.
Don't stack firewood within this zone.
Make sure to store flammable materials, liquids and solvents in metal containers outside your home and at least 30 feet away from structures and wooden fences.
Provide emergency vehicle access with properly constructed driveways and roadways, at least 12-feet wide with adequate turnaround space.
Zone Two: This zone is 30 to 60 feet from all sides of your home.
Fire resistant plants should be used here. Plants should be low-growing, and the irrigation system should extend into this section.
Remove anything that could help fire spread from the ground to treetops.
Make sure yard equipment is in good working order.
Zone Three: This zone extends from the edge of Zone Two to the end of your property and is your first opportunity to prevent fire from getting to your house.
Place low-growing plants and well-spaced trees in this area, remembering to keep the volume of vegetation low.
Consider creating a firebreak up to 15 feet wide around the perimeter of your property by mowing, tilling or using non-combustible materials.
Post the address at the entry side of the property made of highly visible and non-flammable material.