State Bracing for Wildfire Season

Jul 12, 2013

File photo of the Terlton wildfire in Pawnee County in 2011
Credit KWGS News File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma forestry officials are warning of a rapidly increasing danger of wildfires.

Much of the state received heavy rain and flooding in May and early June from storms that spawned deadly tornadoes. But strong winds combined with temperatures near or above 100 degrees have evaporated that moisture.

State Forester George Geissler says downed tree limbs and debris from the tornadoes are also drying out — providing potential fuel for a wildfire.

Forestry spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker says a 300-acre fire in northeastern Oklahoma earlier this week was the first significant fire of the year and officials fear larger fires are likely by the end of July unless the state receives rainfall.

Drought conditions have also worsened with more than 30 percent of the state in extreme to exceptional drought.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.