Fall Arrives, but Fire Danger Persists

Sep 22, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Exceptional drought conditions and the danger of wildfires linger across Oklahoma as summer comes to an end.

Associate state Climatologist Gary McManus  said Friday that long-term rainfall is needed statewide to replenish lakes and soil moisture.

The U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows 42 percent of Oklahoma in exceptional drought — the worst rating — and 53 percent in extreme drought — the second worst. The monitor's forecast is for drought conditions to persist through mid-December.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker says those conditions make for an ongoing fire danger — even though recent rains have turned plants and grasses green. She says the overall condition of the foliage remains very dry and susceptible to fire.

The official start of fall is at 9:49 a.m. Saturday.