Questions Remain Over OK Controlled Ban, Personal Responsibility

Monday, May 5th 2014, 7:42 pm
By: News 9

The Department of Agriculture is taking the lead in the investigation of a wildfire in Logan County. We know there is no burn ban in Logan county. And a permit was not needed for a control burn.

"There is a lot of cedar there and that basically exploded," said Guthrie homeowner Mikael Murray.

Up in smoke has taken on a whole to meaning to homeowner Mikael Murray. Mikael was able to save to his home.

5/5/2014 Related Story: More Residents Evacuated As Logan Co. Grass Fire Rekindles

"This is our house and I didn't want to give it up and didn't want to leave it," said Murray.

With just a garden hose, buckets and a wet towel.

"I don't know how to explain it probably just stupidity and shock," said Murray.

All that effort for a fire that he feels started just around the corner.

"There's no probably, I wouldn't have done a burn," said Murray.

State Forester George Geissler watches over all the burn bans in the state. And he points out a lot of the time the decision to issue a burn ban is left up to the county commissioner who has to meet three of four criteria.

"We don't second guess the county commissioner. We don't know the county better than they do," said Murray.

And if there isn't a ban, Geissler hoped the red flag warnings and wind advisories were enough.

"All of that relies on common sense. People have to be aware that is taking place and they have to look at the conditions, am I able to contain this if it does get away," said Geissler.

And it's that risk that keeps Mikael from conducting his controlled burns.

"You're responsible for fire no matter what you're doing. If you cause a fire you are held to state statute," said Geissler.

"We don't do it very often and it scares me to death., this is why," said Murray.

Right now we do not know the exact point of origin. But investigators told us crews on the ground and in the sky are addressing the source right now. They expect the investigation to take two to three days.

And for the full list of criteria and current burn bans, click here.