Fallin amends burn ban

Due to recent rainfall across Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin is amending the burn ban in central Oklahoma.

In a release sent to CapitolBeatOK, Fallin’s staff said that effective Tuesday, September 27, at 1 p.m. Gov. Fallin will modify the burn ban to cover 28 counties: Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Cimarron, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Garvin, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kiowa, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, Murray, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, and Washita.

Statewide, most county commissioners were meeting today (Monday, Sept. 26) and have a chance to assess local conditions and consider their own countywide burn bans at that time.

“The drought continues to persist across Oklahoma, but the recent light rains have given some counties a temporary reprieve from extreme fire conditions,” Fallin said. “Individual counties can utilize more localized data, conditions and fire occurrence to decide if burn bans are called for on a county level.”

The 28 counties that remain under the Governor’s Burn Ban still have very high fire danger due to the wildland fuel conditions and fire behavior.  Citizens in counties outside the Governor’s Burn Ban should check with local officials to see if a county burn ban has been enacted.

Unlawful activities under the ban include campfires, bonfires, fireworks and setting fire to trash, grass, woods or other materials outdoors.  Gas and charcoal grilling is allowed provided that it is over a nonflammable surface and at least five feet from flammable vegetation.

“Oklahomans should remain very cautious with any outdoor burning. Oklahoma typically experiences our fire season during the winter months when vegetation is brown, but our situation this summer has put us in fire season early and there is no real relief in sight,” State Forester George Geissler said. “We are just hopeful that we will get some precipitation this winter to allow spring green up which often signals the end of fire season.”

There are exemptions to the Governor’s Burn Ban for a number of items such as welding and road construction. For more information, call Michelle Finch-Walker at Oklahoma Forestry Services at (580) 236-1021.

Note: The latest burn ban information is available at www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information.