Tulsa County Burn Ban May Hamper Outdoor Plans

Tuesday, April 5th 2011, 5:43 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The fire danger is so extreme right now, that 46 counties in Oklahoma now have burn bans in place. Tulsa County's ban runs for seven days.

See If Your County Is Under A Burn Ban

Fire Chiefs across the county say it is desperately needed.

In a wooded area near Lake Keystone, you can see the charred ground and smoldering remnants of a fire that could have been avoided. Campfire embers are to blame.

"We were getting embers blowing outside of our control lines, 40, 50, 60 foot and relighting fires," said Mike Wood, Sand Springs Fire Department.

With the urging of area fire chiefs, Tulsa County Commissioners enacted a burn ban. Firefighters say although Spring is here, there is still plenty to fuel a fire.

"We've been fortunate here, we've not lost any structures or anything like that, but it's only a matter of time, if we continue to have conditions like we do, it's only a matter of time," Wood said.

The seven-day burn ban makes it unlawful for anyone to burn brush or trash. The ban includes campfires, bonfires, and even cooking on propane and gas grills.

Read the 7-day burn ban

That means Tressie Nichols and her family are making other options for cooking instead of a campfire.

"I just put all of it in here and turned it on cook and it took me about an hour and a half to get our bacon done," Nichols said.

Firefighters like to see more people acting responsibly like Nichols'. They say it's just too windy to take a chance.

Commissioners could extend the ban beyond seven days, or lift it if the weather improves. The best hope is that we'll get a good soaking rain and soon.

"Just for everybody's safety, for one. Absolutely. Grass needs it, trees need it. Firefighters definitely need it," said camper Tressie Nichols.

"We'll just have to wait it out until we get some greener grass and some moisture in the ground," Wood said.

Violating the burn ban is punishable with up to a $500 fine and a year in jail.

04/04/2011 Related Story: Burn Ban Issued For Tulsa County