Burn Ban extended in Carter County through Jan. 17

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite

A burn ban initially put into effect by the Carter County Commissioners on December 20 was extended earlier this week for an additional two weeks. The regulation makes its unlawful for an person "to set fire to any forest, grass, range crop or other wild lands or  to build a campfire, bonfire, burn or ignite fireworks, or to burn trash or other materials that may cause a forest, grass, range crop or other wild lands fire."

Dry conditions are the primary cause of the burn ban and according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of Thursday, Jan. 6 all of Carter County is currently experiencing drought conditions. Portions of the southeastern and northwestern portions of the county are in extreme drought conditions, and the rest of the county is experiencing severe drought conditions.

Though a small chance of rain is currently in the forecast for the Saturday, the next day with the highest chance of rain coming will be next Thursday which is listed as less than a 50% chance of precipitation. 

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The drought monitor for the Oklahoma released Thursday, Jan. 6 shows portions of Carter County in either severe or extreme drought.

Exemptions to the current burn ban include road construction projects which may use propane or other controlled-type burners as long as a water pumper is used near a grassy right of way. Welding is also permitted as long ass it is conducted over a non-combustible surface of at least 10 feet by 10 feet and welding blankets or screens are used to cover vegetation. Welding also comes with two other conditions including a wind speed of less than 20 miles per hour and a fire watch two be posted at the site with pressurized water or a fire extinguisher.

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Grilling and charcoal grills or smokers outside are also acceptable as long as the activity is taking place over a nonflammable surface and at least five feet from any flammable vegetation.

Enforcement of the burn ban can be carried out by any law enforcement of the state. Anyone convicted of being in violation can receive a fine of no more than $500, no more that one year imprisonment, or both.

Though currently set to expire on January 17, commissioners may choose to extend the burn ban if fire danger conditions persist.