With another round of burn bans in effect in counties across the state and the potential for high fire dangers ahead of the weekend, authorities are asking everyone to do their part. But there are some who can't avoid a fire, especially on job sites where sparks and arcs are tools of the trade.
“This particular burn ban, the way it was worded says that all outdoor burning is prohibited until further notice,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Benny Fulkerson said.
Underway on Thursday however, welding for Oklahoma City's new street car rails. High voltage, super-heated steel rails until two rails became one, in some of the driest conditions of the season.
“These guys have done thousands if not hundreds of thousands of these welds. They're used to dealing with situations of all different kinds,” said David Todd, MAPS Project Manager said standing in front of an industrial welder and tons of steel rails. “There's fire extinguishers but there's also a trailer over here with water ready for anything that might come up.”
Then, there's the road construction. In recent weeks, grass fires have ignited in an instant after hot cars had been left on the side of the road. Add the sparking that comes from road work and it could be a recipe for disaster. So, Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews take extra steps.
“If they're going to be welding or doing anything that might cause sparks they'll have a water truck on site, maybe they'll have that a little closer to the work site,” ODOT Spokesperson Annahlyse Meyer said. “They're not going to rush through a project to make sure they're safe and the public is safe.”