Governor Mary Fallin today declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties because of wildfires that began Sunday, May 4. The governor also issued an executive proclamation that declares a burn ban for 36 counties.
One person was killed and numerous homes and structures have been destroyed in Logan County since a wildfire began late Sunday afternoon. Additional fires were reported near Altus, Jennings and Keystone Lake in Pawnee County, Seiling, Stillwater and Woodward. Damage assessments are ongoing.
"My thanks go out to the firefighters and first responders who have been battling wildfires in several areas of the state," said Fallin. "The emergency declaration allows state agencies to acquire resources that can aid in that firefighting effort."
Under the Executive Order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
Governor Fallin's Executive Proclamation bans outdoor burning for nearly half the state as drought conditions continue to worsen across Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, recommended the ban based upon an analysis of fire activity, wildland fuel conditions and the predicted continued drought as criteria for recommending the ban.
OFS evaluates wildland fire conditions daily. Extreme conditions that occurred during the weekend – including record-breaking heat and high winds, coupled with low humidity – resulted in vegetation reaching critically dry conditions very quickly.
The Governor's Burn Ban covers 36 counties mostly in western and south-central Oklahoma (see attached map). Counties under the burn ban are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Major, McClain, Noble, Oklahoma, Payne, Pawnee, Roger Mills, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
"I'm asking all Oklahomans to be vigilant and careful and to do their part to prevent fires," said Fallin. "Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe."
The Governor's Burn Ban makes it unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes; to build a bonfire or fire; to burn or ignite fireworks; or to burn trash or other materials outdoors in any of the listed counties.