Governor Fallin: State-Wide Burn Ban Could Go Into Effect Soon
OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin hinted that a state-wide burn ban could go into effect in the coming days.
She said her staff has been monitoring the weather outlook and would decide on what action to take, if any.
On Thursday, 53 counties in Oklahoma were under a mandatory burn ban, 24 were not.
Logan County is one of those not under a burn ban. County Commissioner Mark Sharpton said there was a consensus among the commissioners to enact a burn ban if the county met the requirements laid out by law.
As of Thursday, the county did not meet all those requirements.
Sharpton said the only thing holding them back from instituting the ban was that the county did not have more than 20 percent of fires starting from debris burning or controlled burns, which is one of the legal requirements.
Firefighters had been battling several large grassfires in the last week. They said the extreme head and severe drought were a recipe for disastrous fire.
"The conditions are really favorable right now for just really any minor thing that could start a fire," explained Dale Scribner with the Oak Cliff Fire Department in Logan County. "I just hope that everyone is careful in their everyday activities and hopefully we can all avoid some of the major fires that we had last year."
Gov. Mary Fallin echoed that thought and added, "I think we're getting pretty close if not imminent that a burn ban for our whole state could be coming very, very soon."
Until the governor makes that move, several counties including Logan County, may not enact a burn ban because they do not meet the legal requirements to declare one. Firefighters warned the extreme risks still exist and it would not take much to ignite a fire.
"We've had a lot of calls from people want to go ahead and burn, we're asking them or highly suggesting that they don't. It is too dry, the humidity is low," Scribner said.
The list of requirements includes:
- Drought conditions exist within the county.
- Less than one-half inch of precipitation is forecast during the next three days.
- Fire occurrence is above normal levels/initial attack is unsuccessful.
- More than 20% of fires from escaped debris burning or controlled burns.
- Most municipal and certified rural fire departments support the resolution.
County cannot enact a ban without meeting all of these requirements set forth by law.