[Northkeep] Burn Ban Back On

John Yates valstarr_hawkwind at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 2 13:56:28 PDT 2006


   In mundane life, I am a newsman and sports guy. The
burn ban is back on, statewide, and following is a
copy of the release I received from the Governor's
office today.

   I thought some might be interested, note the
penalty possibility includes up to a year in jail for


Gov. Henry institutes statewide burn ban 
to protect lives and property

        Oklahoma City – Citing recent wildfires, the
ongoing drought and continuing hot and windy weather
conditions, Gov. Brad Henry today reinstated a
statewide burn ban for Oklahoma.   

        The governor’s office announced the decision
Wednesday morning after meeting with state fire
experts and reviewing meteorological data from around
the state.  Officials with the Department of
Agriculture recommended a new burn ban, citing
extraordinary fire danger in Oklahoma.   

        “We need to do everything we can to protect
lives and property,” said Gov. Henry.  “With the
drought, extreme heat and high winds, conditions are
very hazardous and even the smallest fire can quickly
get out of control.  A burn ban won’t prevent every
fire, but it will help lessen the danger.”   

        Oklahoma is currently experiencing its worst
drought in state history.  The vast majority of the
state is plagued with high fire danger conditions, and
even the few areas that have received rain recently
will soon be parched and equally hazardous, according
to agriculture officials. 

        More than 13,000 acres have burned in the last
two weeks.  In Oklahoma County alone, firefighters
have battled 32 wildfires over the last 12 days. 

        “I would prefer to err on the side of caution
and issue the ban before conditions deteriorate any
further.  It may cause a small inconvenience for some
Oklahomans, but it will also help reduce the number of
dangerous fires and possibly save lives in the
process.  With the scorching heat and high winds, our
firefighters are already laboring in very dangerous
conditions, and the ban will provide them some
much-needed assistance,” said the governor.   

        Under the governor’s executive order, outdoor
burning is banned, but there are some 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. 

Gov. Henry said the burn ban would remain in effect
for as long as conditions merit.   

“Ultimately, the fire threat will not diminish until
we have significant rainfall and cooler weather. 
Until then, it’s critical that Oklahomans practice
commonsense and obey the burn ban.  We’ve already been
through a historic wildfire season in Oklahoma, and I
know everyone would like to avoid a repeat
performance,” the governor said.   

        Because of record drought conditions, Oklahoma
has been under some form of burn ban seven of the last
10 months.  When Gov. Henry last lifted a ban in May,
he made it clear he would not hesitate to reinstate it
if the high fire danger returned. 

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