Creek County Officials Say Burn Ban Will Be Enforced

Thursday, July 5th 2012, 2:11 pm
By: Tess Maune

Creek County has become the fourth Oklahoma county to enact a burn ban.

The Creek County Commissioners approved the burn ban for their county on Thursday morning.

It doesn't take much—just a small spark—to quickly start a massive wildfire.

So, the burn ban was issued Thursday to lessen that threat, especially with Independence Day festivities still in full effect.

The Salt Creek campground in Mannford was packed despite the heat, but the holiday celebrations will be a little less bright for the rest of the week.

And the campfire at Terry Hix's campsite will also remain unlit.

"We won't do any fireworks. It's just too dry," said Hix. "If it's this dry, you don't light a fire on the ground."

The dry conditions forced Creek County to issue a burn ban, which means all outdoor burning is illegal.

That's burning trash, starting a campfire, or grilling with charcoal, wood, or any grill that could have exposed embers.

So far this summer, Undersheriff John Davis says there have been a number of close calls with grass fires in rural Creek County.

"With the charcoal and stuff like that you get the sparks and things like that, and as dry as the county is right now, you know, one little spark and the next thing you you've got a fire that's quickly getting out of hand," Davis said.

Shooting off fireworks is also against the law, under the ban.

"You always have the possibility if you're dealing with fireworks that a fire's gonna start," Davis said.

And for Hix, he says that's just common sense.

"Don't light a fire, ‘cause it will blow here somewhere, and burn something," Hix said.

He said it's a chance he's not willing to take.

Creek County deputies will be enforcing the burn ban. Violators could face a fine up to $500.

As of now, the ban is in effect until August 4, but could be extended or lifted, depending on the weather.

Three other counties with burn bans are Beaver in the Oklahoma panhandle and LeFlore and Sequoyah counties in far eastern Oklahoma.

For a list of where the rest of the state stands, visit the state Department of Forestry's burn ban web page.