Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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May 9, 2014

Garvin County close to burn ban

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Garvin County has just barely missed being included in a governor’s burn ban proclamation for about half of Oklahoma.

Earlier this week Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties because of wildfires that began this past weekend.

The governor also issued an executive proclamation that declares a burn ban for 36 counties.

Garvin County is right on the edge of the burn ban area with Grady County to the west and McClain County to the north included.

Fire officials in Pauls Valley said this week that could change with the county being included in the ban area if rain in the forecast doesn’t produce enough moisture to ease the dry conditions even a little bit.

One person was killed and numerous homes and structures have been destroyed in Logan County since a wildfire began late Sunday afternoon.

Additional fires were reported near Altus, Jennings and Keystone Lake in Pawnee County, Seiling, Stillwater and Woodward.

The governor’s proclamation bans outdoor burning for nearly half the state as drought conditions continue to worsen across Oklahoma.

The ban is for counties mostly in the western and south central part of the state.

“The emergency declaration allows state agencies to acquire resources that can aid in that firefighting effort,” Fallin said is a statement.

Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.

The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.

Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, recommended the burn ban based upon an analysis of fire activity, wildland fuel conditions and the predicted continued drought.

“Under these conditions, sparks can ignite easily and fires will spread quickly,” said Oklahoma state forester George Geissler.

“We are urging Oklahomans to be vigilant today with any outdoor activity.”

The governor agreed as she asked the public to be careful and “do their part to prevent fires.”

“Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe,” Fallin added.

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