Fire Emergency in Oklahoma City Yesterday

There was a serious wildfire in Oklahoma City yesterday, that continues today. It was apparently south of, and close to, my house and neighborhood.

The information surrounding this fire was confusing and contradictory. I am in San Diego, and found out about the fire from CNN in the lobby of the Navy facility I am working at this week. I got in touch with Raegan, and she collected Ian from the house.

So the NWS sent out several fire warning statements; these indicated a mandatory evacuation area that included our house. I was in constant contact with Ian to ensure he was not terribly worried (in fact, he was calm, and executed my commands very precisely, and I am very proud of him for that). The police came through the neighborhood house to house as well.

But the media (at least, none of the TV station websites, or the Oklahoman website) never reported that our neighborhood was evacuated. The reported area still today stops a mile south of our house. There was ONE report of a specific location of fire yesterday (on the KFOR website, I think), and that report was 3/4 mile due south of my house).

The OKC FD had to have had PA people out with them, and there were scads of reporters around, and still, almost 24 hours after the event started, the information is still not consistent. The OKC FD website reports a different set of fire areas than the media.

All of this really leads me to question the information sharing between the various agencies and the media. The media had helicopters up, and if nothing else they should have been able to precisely show the boundaries of the fire areas at least. Why could the spotters in the helicopter report the actual fire locations to their reporters, and to their web site people? I could see the smoke plume on NWS radar yesterday, and it showed the fire source at least, and that was the best I could get, but it is a very low resolution at best.

So to find out what happened, I am going to have to go drive the neighborhoods when I get home this weekend. That’s not a good testament to the media in OKC.

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