Gov. Mary Fallin lifts burn ban for 22 Oklahoma counties

Oklahoma County was among 22 counties that were removed from the statewide burn ban Monday in response to improving drought conditions and recent rains.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: September 18, 2012

The decision to lift a burn ban is based on several weather indicators, including recent rainfall and drought conditions.

“The areas of the state where the governor's burn ban were lifted match up fairly well with the areas that received above normal rainfall in the last 30 days,” said Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. “It's not a perfect match, of course, but it's a pretty good guide.

“That rainfall improved soil moisture and since we're still in September, allowed for a bit of a green up of vegetation. Those factors combined help to ease the wildfire danger a bit.”

As of last Tuesday, almost 40 percent of the state had exceptional drought conditions, while 95 percent of the state was facing extreme to exceptional drought conditions.

McManus said the next U.S. Drought Monitor map, which will be released this Thursday, will take into account the rainfall of late last week. The Drought Monitor considers any rainfall that occurred up through each Tuesday morning for that week's map.

Violation of the burn ban is a misdemeanor and comes with up to a $1,000 fine or up to a year imprisonment. The maximum fine for county level burn bans is $500.