Oklahoma County commissioners order burn ban

A ban on outdoor fires was approved Tuesday at an emergency meeting of Oklahoma County commissioners. Violators face a $500 fine and/or up to a year in jail.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: July 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm •  Published: July 20, 2012
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Most outdoor burning is now prohibited in Oklahoma County, which on Tuesday became the 30th county in the state to issue an emergency burn ban.

The board of county commissioners unanimously approved the ban at the recommendation of the county's fire departments, said David Barnes, Oklahoma County's director of emergency management.

Barnes said current dry vegetation and weather conditions are ripe for wildfires, of which there have already been at least 100 this summer.

“We're looking at temperatures the next week of above 100 degrees with no rainfall, so we're trying to be proactive instead of reactive,” Barnes said.

It is now unlawful for anyone in the county to set a fire outdoors, including campfires or bonfires. Burning of trash or other material also is prohibited. Violators could be fined as much as $500, imprisoned for up to a year, or both.

An exception is made for cautious outdoor cooking, so long as it is done in approved cooking appliances, county officials said.

The ban lasts for 30 days, but it can be ended early or extended with a vote by the commissioners.

The forecast for central Oklahoma calls for high temperatures of more than 100 degrees through at least next week, with no signs of rain.

Barnes said the county is in better shape than last year but that leftover vegetation from last fall, combined with drying spring growth, puts the area in jeopardy.


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