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As drought conditions continue to worsen across Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin has announced that a ban on outdoor burning for all 77 Oklahoma counties is effective immediately and will last until a notice is given releasing the ban.
Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, recommended the ban based upon an analysis of fire activity, wild land fuel conditions and the predicted continued drought. The governor's statewide burn ban supersedes all county burn bans currently in place and remains in place until conditions improve and it is removed by the governor.
"Extreme heat and ongoing drought have created conditions very conducive to wildfires," Fallin said. "A statewide burn ban is now necessary to reduce the risk of preventable wildfires and to protect lives and property.
"Moving forward, we need the public to be extremely vigilant. Lit cigarettes, flat tires and cars parked in dry grass can quickly become dangerous. Everyone must do their part to help prevent fires and to keep our families and businesses safe from harm."
State Forester George Geissler said reports of fire activity across the state are increasing and Oklahomans should report any fire they see immediately.
"Any fire that starts has the potential to burn very intensely and be difficult to extinguish," said Geissler. "It is critical that anyone who sees a fire report it to the nearest fire department as soon as possible."
Unlawful activities under the ban include campfires, bonfires, fireworks and setting fire to debris or trash, grass, woods or other materials outdoors. The ban allows for gas and charcoal grilling provided that it is over a nonflammable surface and at least five feet from flammable vegetation and there are exemptions for a number of items such as welding and road construction. For a complete list of activities allowed and prohibited view the guidelines for the Governor's Burn Ban on www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information or call Oklahoma Forestry Services at 580-236-1021.