Burn ban staying put for now

Garvin County's ban on just about all outdoor burning is staying put and could be around for a while, at least until some rainfall brings some much needed relief.

Dry conditions and the danger of grass fires getting sparked are naturally big reasons the entire county has been under a burn ban since Dec. 13.

That didn't change during a meeting earlier this week as the most recent action approved by county commissioners is set to officially take the ban through next week. At that time the ban will be reassessed and possibly extended.

“It's appropriate, based on the National Weather Services forecast, we keep the burn ban in place,” said Dave Johnson, emergency management director for Garvin County.

“Right now the fire danger is at a critical danger level.

“I appreciate you guys for supporting our fire departments.”

The weather reference is to a forecast that calls for much colder low temperatures and maybe even some rain by this weekend.

With that kind of forecast the hope is humidity will go up, which typically brings down the danger of grass fires.

The burn ban prohibits outdoor campfires or bonfires and only allows gas or charcoal cooking in a grilling receptacle conducted over a non-flammable surface at least five feet from flammable vegetation.

Activities like welding, cutting torches and grinding will be allowed only with specified safety precautions in place.

As of early this week a total of 16 Oklahoma counties stretching from the Kansas and Texas borders has called for a burn ban. Along with Garvin County, others close by include Grady, Stephens, Carter and Love counties.

As the fire danger appears to be spreading across the state, Johnson said some firefighters from Garvin County could be pulled together to form a mutual aid support task force team to help in other areas.

The hope is that kind of assistance doesn't go too far away as a request has been made to keep them relatively close to home

“Unless there's an extreme need I've asked the state to limit us to 75 miles,” he said about these teams that could include four brush rigs, a tanker and a command vehicle. “We work as a strike team so our guys work together.

“All our fire chiefs want to help, but they are keenly aware that they don't want to leave Garvin County exposed at all.”

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