It appears the word is getting out about the extremely dry conditions keeping firefighters and others across the state on high alert for that next grassfire call.

Reports about possible violations of the outside burn ban, issued back in November, have slowly but surely dropped at the sheriff’s office in Garvin County and fire departments all over the area.

That, one official says, is likely due to all the public attention placed on the conditions outside and the many wildfires throughout the state in the last few weeks with more sure to come.

“I think people are beginning to understand just how extreme the situation really is,” Deputy Jim Mullett said.

“That’s probably from the media attention and hype about the wildfires,” he said.

Mullett said he and other sheriff’s officials were fielding many more calls about possible violators during the first few weeks of the burn ban.

Pauls Valley fire officials are quick to remind the public the entire state of Oklahoma is still under the ban with little chance of it being lifted anytime soon.

The penalties for violating the burning ban start at a fine of up $500 and/or up to a year in jail.

Officials in the Garvin County District Attorney’s office are currently focusing much of their attention on getting violators to pay in the form of restitution for the costs to fire departments to battle the fires coming from incidents involving the violations.

In fact, two misdemeanor burn ban charges were filed this week in Garvin County District Court.

Filed Wednesday was a count against Harry Elmore Saunders, 74.

Saunders is accused of accidentally igniting a fire back on Nov. 30 when he was burning personal trash outside on his own property several miles northeast of Pauls Valley in far northern Garvin County.

Officials said Saunders caused the fire that scorched several acres when the flames from trash burning in a barrel got out of control.

Receiving an identical charge was Richard D. Moore, 58, of Maysville.

Filed documents show Moore is now formally accused of burning trash in a large pit dug into the ground.

County officials reported back on Dec. 10 finding Moore at a site between Pauls Valley and Maysville where the trash was still burning.

Even though there was no indication a fire spread beyond the pit, Moore was cited because of the burn ban.

Ironically the defendant claimed he, at that time, had just finished a three-day stretch of helping Elmore City firefighters battle a blaze in the area.

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