By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A Canadian County burn ban has been extended two more weeks.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their weekly meeting Tuesday, Jan. 18, unanimously approved continuing the outdoor burning prohibition due to an “extreme fire danger” caused by dry, windy conditions.
The burn ban, which began Dec. 20, 2021, is now due to expire at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31.
Canadian County Emergency Management Director Andrew Skidmore recommended extending the burn ban after hearing from the county’s fire chiefs.
“I emailed all the fire chiefs – rural, volunteer and career fire departments,” Skidmore told commissioners.
Canadian County’s emergency manager read aloud replies he received from Piedmont Fire Chief Andy Logan and Geary Fire Chief Jeff Choate.
“There’s been no measurable precipitation since the burn ban was put in place,” Chief Logan told Skidmore. “Conditions have not improved since the burn ban was put in place.
“Piedmont Fire Department supports the extension of the burn ban.”
Oklahoma, Grady and Blaine counties that surround Canadian County also have extended their bans.
Kingfisher County Commissioners have not called for a burn ban, a commissioners’ spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Geary’s fire chief noted western Oklahoma has not received any measurable moisture for “quite some time,” drying the area with a great potential to fuel fires.
“With no real measurable moisture in the future forecast, I feel it’s best to continue the 14-day burn ban,” Choate wrote in an email.
“I understand it’s getting that time of year. Farmers need and want to burn grass for agricultural reasons.”
The burn ban resolution approved by Canadian County Commissioners allows a property owner to apply for a permit allowing them to burn outside under certain circumstances.
Canadian County’s emergency manager said he had heard from one Canadian County resident, who lives in Oklahoma City limits, asking that the ban be lifted.
Oklahoma City allows outdoor burning but Canadian County’s ban “prevents this individual,” Skidmore explained.
Canadian County Commissioners could lift the burn ban before the Jan. 31st expiration date if the county receives a “torrential downpour,” he noted.
MAPLE WATER DISTRICT GRANT
Meanwhile, Canadian County Commissioners have been asked to approve a proposal from L.E. Marshall Consulting to write a grant to obtain a $128,000 generator for the Maple Water District.
This rural water district serves about 900 residents in the Town of Calumet and Maple school district.
“They have a continual loss – every time it freezes – they lose their pumps,” Skidmore explained.
Federal funds to purchase the new generator could come from either of two sources – the Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities and Hazard Mitigation Plan grant programs.
“Our plan is to submit for funding from both grants and see which one we get first,” Skidmore told commissioners.
L.E. Marshall Consulting over the past 1-1/2 years helped Canadian County Emergency Management finalize the county’s new hazard mitigation plan.
“Part of that process was meeting with the individual jurisdictions, finding their vulnerabilities and finding a way to mitigate them so they don’t have an issue anymore,” Skidmore said.
The grant proposal for the Maple Water District was tabled indefinitely for further discussion and to see if Marshall’s proposed $8,500 consulting fee could be recouped through the grant award.
County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson said this project is an example of what federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds “could be used” to cover.