Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 12, 2013

Despite rain conditions still dry

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — With much of the heavy rain from some recent systems drifting to the east of Garvin County and Oklahoma officials here are still keeping a close eye on the dry conditions out there.

Even with some raindrops coming our way Garvin County’s emergency management director stresses there’s still a drought going on out there.

“We’re still in an extreme drought, which is next to the worst kind of drought you can have,” Bud Ramming said.

“We’re looking at another dry summer,” he said. “All the first departments in the county are getting ready.”

Strangely enough the dry conditions are not enough for officials to consider the possibility of calling for a burn ban.

Another factor is an area must also have more than its average number of fires before a ban can be considered.

According to Ramming, the number of fires in the county have been fairly low in recent weeks.

That means Garvin County doesn’t qualify for a burn ban.

However, it’s not alone as a check with the Oklahoma Forestry Services shows none of the 77 counties in the entire state currently have a ban in place right now.

Ramming said on Monday the number of fires and how they factor into an area qualifying for a burn ban is something emergency management directors all over the state have been looking at closely.

Efforts have already begun to lobby for a change in the law and remove the fire element as part of the ban criteria.

“If we’re going to be proactive we need to have the ability to call for a burn ban when it’s needed,” Ramming said.

“If we can remove that one stipulation on the number of fires it would allow us to put on bands as we need to,” he said.

“We don’t want to put on a burn band if we don’t need to. But if we do need a ban this would help.

He added any potential ban would still go the county commissioners.

Even with no ban in place Ramming always encourages any county residents choosing to conduct a controlled burn to remain safe and cautious. He also encourages people to notify their area fire department before starting.