Grass Fires Accentuate Need For Expanded Burn Ban, Some Say

Sunday, June 26th 2011, 12:07 am
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It was another grueling day for Oklahoma firefighters as many worked to put out more grass fires. Today's blaze in southwest Oklahoma City combined with the high fire danger has some wondering if more counties should have burn bans in effect.

See which counties currently have burn bans

Currently, 15 counties are under a burn ban at a time when the Forestry Department said a good portion of the state has a high risk of wildfires. It is why those who are responsible for putting those fires out hope more counties consider doing the same.

For several hours firefighters worked to contain a grass fire near Mustang that had quickly spread out of control. The fire that got awfully close to Diane Blake's home.

"There was nothing but smoke in the back yard," she said.

Blake's only defense to keep the fire from spreading into her backyard was her sprinklers, but putting them in place wasn't easy.

"It's crazy," she said. "We could hardly get the sprinklers in the ground because of how dry it is."

It is the dry conditions combined with the high temperatures and low humidity that have firefighters who battle to contain these type of grass fires concerned.

"It's making for prime conditions for fire spreading and it's just making it real hard," said Major Chad Everett of the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Because of these extreme conditions, Everett wants more done to make sure citizens are aware of the high threat for wildfires. He said he would like to see more counties adopting a burn ban.

If more counties would adopt a burn ban, Everett said, it would help cut down on the number of days like today.

See county guidelines for adopting a burn ban

"People just need to start being more conscious and more aware of their surroundings and what's going on and start noticing when things start getting this dry that it's really dangerous to have any type of outside burning," he said.

The grass fire this afternoon burned close to 100 acres and required more than 45 firefighters to bring it under control.