Due to improving wildland fire conditions, Governor Mary Fallin has issued a proclamation reducing the number of counties in the governor’s burn ban from 14 to seven. The change came at the recommendation of Oklahoma Forestry Services after an analysis of the impact of recent rains.
“We haven’t had any major grass fires for a while,” said AshLeigh Gillham, Love County Emergency Management Director said. “Now that the weather has improved the most likely culprits for fires are discarded cigarettes and brush burning.”
“The drought continues to persist across northwest Oklahoma, but the recent rains have given most of the state a reprieve from extreme fire conditions,” Fallin said
While the governor has the authority to issue burn bans across the state when the conditions warrant it, residents should look to local offices for conditions and recommendations in their areas. Gilliam said the most important thing for residents to remember is to be aware of their surroundings.
“Smoke, even from controlled fires, can inhibit visibility,” Gillham said. “Pay attention to what direction the wind is blowing and don’t start a burn if it could block a roadway.”
The City of Ardmore’s Emergency Management Director Amber Wilson said while there have been no major fires in the city recently, residents are urged to continue to use caution and pay attention to weather conditions when burning or using flammable materials.
“Any time the winds are high and the humidity is low is not a good time for outdoor burning of any kind,” Wilson said.
“Spring green-up typically signals the end of our winter fire season,” said OFS Director and State Forester Mark Goeller. “While some improvement has been realized with recent rainfall, significant green-up has not yet occurred in the Panhandle and northwest Oklahoma.”
Counties that remain under the governor’s burn ban are: Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods and Woodward.
For additional information about wildfires, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/wildfire-information.