The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 30, 2011

5 area counties issue burn bans

By Kevin Hassler, Associate Editor
Enid News and Eagle

— The prolonged drought in western Oklahoma has led some counties to issue burn bans, although there are no governor-declared bans in the state.

Alfalfa, Woods, Woodward, Blaine and Kingfisher counties have their own burn bans, which include a prohibition on fireworks except for public displays, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services website.

According to U.S. Drought Monitor, much of western Oklahoma is listed as being in an exceptional drought, including most of Alfalfa County and all of Woods and Woodward counties.

Blaine County is split between extreme drought and exceptional drought. The western half of Kingfisher County is listed as extreme, while much of the eastern half, except for the northeast corner, is listed in severe drought.

Most of Garfield County is listed as abnormally dry, with the western third and along the county line with Grant County listed as moderate.

Legislation passed in 2008 and signed by Gov. Brad Henry gave county commissioners the authority to enact bans on outdoor burning for up to 30 days.

Alfalfa County commissioners enacted a 30-day ban Monday. It includes a section on fireworks.

“Extreme caution is to be used and only under adult (18 years of age and above) supervision,” the resolution reads.

In Blaine County, individual use of fireworks is prohibited under the 30-day ban issued Monday.

Public fireworks displays will be permitted as long as they have “prior approval of local fire departments,” according to the resolution, and then only “by licensed firework professionals in designated areas.”

Kingfisher County commissioners approved a seven-day burn ban Tuesday. Fireworks are not allowed, except for public displays “providing adequate fire suppression as needed at the shows,” according to the resolution.

Woods County commissioners approved a 30-day burn ban June 13. It prohibits private or public use of fireworks, except for events in Alva, Dacoma, Freedom and Waynoka.

Woodward County commissioners approved a 28-day burn ban Monday prohibiting fireworks except for public displays.

Penalties for violators in all of the counties include a fine of no more than $500, no more than one year in prison, or both.