Governor orders 52-county burn ban
All Southwest Oklahoma counties are included in a 52-county burn ban issued by Gov. Mary Fallin Thursday due to extreme fire danger caused by high winds and extremely dry conditions.
Among the 52 counties included in the burn ban are Comanche, Caddo, Cotton, Grady, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Stephens and Tillman. The governor's burn ban supersedes any county burn bans previously enacted and will remain in place until midnight March 2.
Months with little to no rain
"Drought conditions continue to worsen across the state with no measurable rainfall occurring in the western third of Oklahoma for the past 130 days, and central Oklahoma is approaching 40 days without rain," Fallin in a news release. "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.
"Oklahoma Forestry Services' wildland fire crews and aircraft are prepositioned as conditions continue to deteriorate," said George Geissler, OFS director. "Oklahoma National Guard and Oklahoma Highway Patrol aircraft continue to support wildfire activities as necessary. We've also opened an air tanker base in Ardmore and have additional helicopters staged in Weatherford and Shawnee in anticipation of initial attack needs across the state."
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.