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Joint Interim Study Scheduled to Discuss Statewide Drought

OKLAHOMA CITY - In response to the increasing fire danger across Oklahoma, a joint interim study meeting on fire danger and hay supply is scheduled for Wednesday, September 27th at 10:00 AM, according to Senator Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta and Representative M.C. Leist, D-Morris.

The interim study will focus on problems the recent dry weather has created and will address the wildfires, crop damage and the number of homes burned in recent weeks.

"This study is going to take a serious look at how the state can be better prepared for this type of situation in the future," said Senator Shurden. "I want to look at our options on a state level in terms of utilizing the National Guard to help with hay hauling and firefighting assistance. The state may want to consider buying more National Guard helicopters to help with firefighting efforts. It's especially important to focus on this because this year's drought could be just the beginning of many more in the future."

The meeting is scheduled to include presentations in three areas; fire danger, drought situations and hay availability. Representatives from the United States and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the National Guard, Civil Emergency Management, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, and numerous rural fire coordinators are expected to offer presentations at the meeting.

The fire danger presentation will cover the current fire situation in the state and the efforts to suppress wildfires in Oklahoma. An update will be given on the resources dedicated to the fire suppression efforts by the state and federal entities.

The presentation on the drought situation is expected to focus on the current drought conditions in Oklahoma, as well as consider an overview of the impact on Oklahoma crops, livestock, and statewide water supply concerns.

The Department of Agriculture will be available to answer questions pertinent to the availability and distribution of hay in the state.

"This interim study will give us a chance to consider many different ways to address the dangerous wildfire situation," said Representative Leist. "We must take the time to assess the current situation and learn from our actions and decisions in order to be better prepared for the next time Oklahoma faces an extended period of drought."

Contact info
on this meeting, please call Senator Shurden's office at (405) 521-5588. For more information Senate Communications Division - (405) 521-5605