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Fallin orders sweeping burn ban

Comanche County is among 40 Oklahoma counties included in an outdoor burn ban issued Tuesday by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The ban, which is immediate and remains in effect until midnight Feb. 16, includes all western Oklahoma counties. State officials say the governor's burn ban supersedes any county burn ban currently in place. While Comanche County hadn't been under a burn ban, on Monday Stephens County became the fifth Southwest Oklahoma County to adopt the designation, joining Cotton, Jackson, Jefferson and Tillman counties. Those counties, as well as Fallin, enacted the burn ban because of extreme weather conditions and extraordinary fire danger.

The governor's ban covers Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Love, Major, McClain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Roger Mills, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward. In addition, county commissioner-issued burn bans remain in effect for Atoka, Coal, Pittsburg and Sequoyah counties.

Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) recommended the ban based upon an analysis of fire activity, wildland fuel conditions and the predicted continued drought, according to state officials. Predicted windy conditions were an additional contributing factor to recommending the ban go into effect Tuesday.

"Oklahoma Forestry Services' wildland fire crews and fire departments across the state have responded to an increasing number of fires over the past several weeks," said George Geissler, OFS director. "We are expecting conditions to continue to deteriorate with only minimal chances for drought-breaking rainfall in the future."

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.

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