Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol - Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 12, 2006
Gov. Henry Modifies Burn Order, Removes NW Oklahoma, Metro Areas from Ban
Oklahoma City - Citing recent rainfall and the advice of agriculture experts, Gov. Brad Henry today modified the state's burn ban, lifting burn prohibitions for northwestern Oklahoma and a number of other areas around the state, including the major metro areas in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties.
The governor's office announced the decision this afternoon after reviewing data compiled by state agriculture, forestry and emergency management officials. Many counties in Oklahoma have received significant rainfall over the last few weeks.
"The recent rainfall has provided enough relief to remove the burn ban in many counties, but Oklahomans must still use common sense and exercise extreme caution when they are involved with any type of outdoor burning," said Gov. Henry. "Oklahoma is still in the midst of the worst drought in state history, and I will not hesitate to expand the burn ban if it is needed to protect lives and property."
According to data compiled by agriculture officials, the fire danger remains high in the 39 counties that will remain under the burn ban. Outdoor burning will still be prohibited in southeastern Oklahoma and other pockets around the state that have not received enough rainfall to offset drought conditions.
The counties remaining under the burn ban are: Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Cherokee, Choctaw, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Delaware, Garfield, Garvin, Grant, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Latimer, Leflore, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, McIntosh, McClain, Murray, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Okfuskee, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Pontotoc, Seminole, Sequoyah and Stephens counties.
In the burn ban counties, there are exemptions for low risk activities such as charcoal and gas grilling. Occupations such as welding can also earn exemptions, provided tradesmen follow specific protections outlined by the Department of Agriculture. Violations of the ban are misdemeanors punishable by as much as a $500 fine and one-year imprisonment.
Because of record drought conditions, Oklahoma has been under some form of burn ban eight of the last 11 months. Gov. Henry instituted the most recent ban in early August when dry, hot and windy conditions fueled wildfires across the state.