The burn ban that had been issued on Washington County on Friday has been canceled as local officials still call for residents to be cautious.
“We want everyone to continue to be smart, as the conditions are still not great,” Washington County Emergency Management Director Kary Cox told the Examiner-Enterprise.“We had two departments out working on an escaped fire literally an hour prior to them lifting the burn ban.”
According to a release from the Oklahoma Forestry Department, “Due to significant rainfall that moved across the state, Gov. Mary Fallin issued a proclamation canceling the governor’s burn ban that was in effect for 53 counties. This change came at the recommendation of Oklahoma Forestry Services after an analysis of the impact of the rainfall in the affected counties. The removal of the governor’s burn ban has no effect on county burn bans that were in place” the release states.
Ten counties, none that border Washington County, still have a county burn ban in place.
“Individual counties can utilize more localized data, conditions and fire occurrence to decide if burn bans are called for on a county level,” Fallin said.
The release continues asking that in counties no longer covered by the governor proclaimed burn ban, residents are urged to check with local officials or visit www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information to see if county burn bans have been enacted before doing any type of burning”
According to Cox, contacting local officials following the ban, is not just requested but “required by law.”
“They should call their local fire department … Humidity levels were down 40 percent yesterday and it will be lower today,” he said. “We will watch the conditions and monitor them closely, if we reach the criteria for a county burn ban we will certainly issue one.”
“The rainfall had a positive impact on the larger forest fuels such as branches and fallen trees, but our light grassy fuels will dry out quickly and will still carry fire,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State forester. “We are still in our winter fire season and in the absence of spring green up we could find ourselves right back in high fire danger within a week or so. The rain just gave firefighters a break from the extreme fire behavior that necessitated the burn ban.”