4 Charged With Violating Burn Ban In Oklahoma County

Tuesday, April 12th 2011, 1:55 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma County authorities say four people, including a teen, defied the county's burn ban, despite recent devastating wildfires and the threat of more.

Charges have been filed against 53-year-old Charles Seiss of Harrah, 58-year-old Thomas Schroeder of Newalla, and 42-year-old Rogelio Carrisal of Luther. 

A 15-year-old was also charged after the teen was caught lighting off fire works with the ban in place.

Under the burn ban, no outdoor burning is allowed, including charcoal grilling.  During a news conference Tuesday morning, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said his department is taking any outdoor burning very seriously.

"There have been injuries, millions of dollars in property damages, families have been left homeless, pets have been lost and some have died," said Whetsel. "Unfortunately recent wildfire tragedies were not enough to keep some from violating the burn bans."

The sheriff said he's also very concerned about people throwing burning cigarette butts out the window. He said such carelessness has led to wildfires that destroyed 110 homes in Oklahoma County in the last two years.

Authorities say two of the men charged had been warned previously that a ban was in effect, but they'd violated the statute again.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan is asking people to be mindful of the danger and the possible consequences of violating the burn ban.

"I ask that our law abiding citizens be patient and not burn trash or debris until we get some much needed rain to lower the fire threat, and the ban is lifted," said Maughan.

People caught violating the burn ban will receive more than just a simple ticket.  Offenders will be arrested and possibly charged.

Anyone convicted could be fined up to $500 and sentenced up to a year in jail. 

Of Oklahoma's 77 counties, 47 currently have burn bans. View current burn bans in Oklahoma.