Outdoor burning has been banned in all 77 Oklahoma counties.
Gov. Mary Fallin issued the statewide burn ban on Friday as drought conditions worsened.
Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department, recommended the ban based on an analysis of fire activity, wildland fire conditions and the predicted continuing drought.
The governor's statewide ban supersedes all county burn bans in place. The statewide burn ban 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.”
Unlawful activities under the ban include campfires, bonfires, fireworks and setting fire to debris or trash, grass, wood or other materials outdoors. The ban allows for gas and charcoal grilling provided it is over a nonflammable surface and at least 5 feet from flammable vegetation.
There are exemptions for some items such as welding and road construction.
“Lit cigarettes, flat tires and cars parked in dry grass can quickly become dangerous,” Fallin said. “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.
“Any fire that starts has the potential to burn very intensely and be difficult to extinguish,” Geissler said. “It is critical that anyone who sees a fire report it to the nearest fire department as soon as possible.”
The governor earlier this week declared a state of emergency because of the dry conditions combined with triple-digit temperatures. The governor's declaration covers all 77 counties.
The governor's executive order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief and preparedness. It is also a first step toward seeking federal assistance, should that be necessary.