Wind’s Weather Role in NW Oklahoma Complex Fires (part 3 of 3)

The stage was set. The players for a drama of tragic proportions assembled. Two leads waited their cue. Already on stage were fine dead fuels from previous growing seasons, low moisture in February, and super low humidities. The next player in the drama entered, high wind speeds. This article is part 3 of 3 articles exploring weather conditions that set the stage for the Northwest Oklahoma Complex Fires that broke out on Monday, March 6, 2017.

2017-03-16.1Mb.Fire wall behind field and farmer.Terena Burke Bridwell.Barby Ranch.The Oklahoman

(Photo: Terena Burke Bridwell/Barby Ranch Beaver County)

At 11:00 AM March 6th winds across Beaver County were out of the southwest. Wind speed at the Oklahoma Mesonet Beaver site was 37 miles per hour. Continue reading

Relative Humidity’s Weather Role in NW Oklahoma Complex Fires (part 2 of 3)

As relative humidities drop, standing, dead plant stems dry out. Dense, dead, dry grasses were the primary fuel source for the devastating fires that flared up on March 6, 2017 in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. This article is part two of a three part series. It covers the relative humidity conditions in Oklahoma leading into this horrendous fire day.

AgBlog.Fire and dead grass.Kathy Larson and Joe Coffey.The Cayenne Room.Oregon (1)

March kicked off with relative humidities unusually low across Oklahoma. Continue reading

March 2015 in Oklahoma: Cooler and Wetter, Warmer and Dryer

March is a critical month in Oklahoma. It is the month when wheat and canola come out of dormancy. It’s the month when the risk of wildfires is highest (Weir, Reid, & Fuhlendorf, 2012). Temperatures and moisture in March set the tone for our crops and rangeland. March was cooler and wetter in the east, southeast, and south central regions. It was warmer and dryer in the Panhandle, west, and north central areas. Interstate-44 was the approximate dividing line. The following map shows the departure in average temperatures for March 2015 from Oklahoma Mesonet’s long-term 15-year averages (1990 to 2014).

2015 04 13.Ag Blog.No 01.March 2015 Avg Air Temp Deviation Continue reading