OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb today extended and expanded a burn ban from 16 counties to include 36 counties in western and central Oklahoma due to extreme and extraordinary fire danger.
The burn ban will remain in effect indefinitely for the following counties: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Cimarron, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Major, Noble, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee, Roger Mills, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
Lamb, who is acting governor while Governor Mary Fallin is in Florida on an economic development-related trip, also signed an executive order easing trucking regulations directly related to fire relief. The order will ease hay deliveries and hauling in equipment and crews to restore electrical, sewer, water and telecommunications to the areas affected by wildfires.
Conditions have deteriorated since the burn ban was amended Feb. 23, prompting the expansion. The governor’s burn ban supersedes existing county burn bans. This list is frequently updated by county commissioners and can be viewed anytime on the OFS website at www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-info.
“We have seen unprecedented fire conditions develop over the last week that created the dangerous wildfires that have burned over 400,000 acres so far,” said Lamb. “An expanded burn ban is called for to reduce the risk of preventable wildfires and to protect lives and property.”
Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) recommended the ban based upon an ongoing analysis of fire activity, wildland fuel conditions, and the predicted continued drought. Lamb said people should be extremely careful with any outdoor activities that might spark a blaze.
“We have worked hard to prepare for these historically dangerous conditions,” said George Geissler, OFS director. “We are working with our partners within the state as well as bringing in tremendous regional and national resources in an effort to keep Oklahomans safe. We currently have an additional 200 firefighters, along with equipment and vehicles, and multiple aircraft.”
Unlawful activities under the ban include campfires, bonfires, and setting fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes, as well as igniting fireworks, burning trash or other materials outdoors. LPG and natural gas grills and charcoal-fired cooking outside in a grilling receptacle are permitted, provided the activity is conducted over a non-flammable surface and at least 5 feet from flammable vegetation, but any fire resulting from grilling or use of one of the cookers or stoves is still considered an illegal fire.
As part of the governor’s burn ban, there are exemptions for many items, such as welding and road construction. For more specific information and details, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-info or call (405) 586-0404.