There is an outdoor burn ban in effect for all 77 Oklahoma counties.  With at least two fires in our local area in the last week – all preventable if this ban was heeded – it might be a good time to go over what you can and can’t do when a burn ban is in effect.  Some confusion might be coming from our county officials vs. our state officials.  The county emergency management team says Comanche County doesn't qualify (yet) for burn ban status.  While they believe it is inevitable, they say not yet.  The Governor, however, has put us all under a burn ban.  In that case, the Governor's ban trumps the local decision.

  1. No burning things outside.  While it should be obvious, some people think there is an exception for what they are doing.  Here is a more comprehensive list but this isn’t all-inclusive.  Basically, anything that requires a flame and things that burn – you can’t do.  Here are some of the more common banned activities:
    1. Campfires
    2. Bonfires
    3. Fireworks
    4. Burning trash in a pile
    5. Burning trash in a barrel
    6. Burning anything at all
    7. No throwing those cigarette butts out the window.  Get one of those things that looks like a castle for your car – or better yet, stop.  If you can’t stop – then wait till you get where you are going.
    8. You can still cook outside – but on your own head be it.  If you start a fire (as we have seen already this week from someone smoking a brisket) it’s on your head and you might be liable for any damage to property and the cost to put the fire out.
      1. If you insist on cooking outside, follow these rules:
        1. Grill has to be over a non-flammable surface
        2. Grill has to be at least five feet from flammable vegetation
        3. Be smart and don’t put it within 3 feet of your house

There are always exemptions for things like welding and road construction – but even then, there are rules to follow (for instance did you know if you weld outside you have to have adequate provisions to put out sparks and small fires?).  Make sure you are safe and within the law.

For up to date information on the Oklahoma Wildfire Situation, here is a a link to the Fire News Blog on the Forestry website.