This time it may stick for good. Gov. Brad Henry modified the statewide Burn Ban Thursday, lifting the ban for all but 20 counties in western portions of the state.

Henry said recent rainfall and greening vegetation prompted him to lift the ban for the remainder of the state.

“The recent rainfall has improved conditions in many parts of Oklahoma and reduced the fire danger that has plagued our state for many months,” Henry said. “If conditions worsen and the fire danger increases in the weeks to come, I will not hesitate to expand the burn ban to protect lives and property.”

Locally, almost four inches of rainfall has been measured in the Pauls Valley area since April 24.

The lifted ban means area residents can resume outdoor burning and grilling. However, local fire officials caution area residents to notify them if they plan on doing any major burning.

“If any area resident is planning on burning something bigger than a burn barrel, such as a brush pile or they want to burn off some grassland, they really should notify their local fire department what they plan on burning and when,” said Joe Eddy, Pauls Valley Fire Chief.

In March the governor lifted the Burn Ban but reinstated it a week later as dry weather conditions elevated the risk of wild fires again.

The governor also added a new exemption to the burn ban. Organized fireworks displays that are approved by local fire officials and affected municipalities are exempt from burn ban prohibitions. Charcoal grilling is also exempt from the ban.

According to the Oklahoma Forestry Department, Oklahoma has experienced its driest period since 1921. Wilfires across the state has scorched thousands of acres of land since November.

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