By Conrad Dudderar
The Canadian County burn ban is back on … again.
Canadian County commissioners voted 2-1 on April 4 to approve a resolution that enacted a new burn ban “due to an extreme fire danger that currently exists” in the county.
County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson voted against the resolution, which establishes outdoor burning restrictions for two weeks expiring at 9 a.m. April 18.
Commissioners could lift the burn ban before then if outdoor fire dangers subside.
Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) maps are “still showing extreme drought” for this area, Canadian County Emergency Management Director Andrew Skidmore said.
“We’re still in a drought in Canadian County,” Skidmore advised county commissioners.
The weather forecast shows no precipitation and higher temperatures this week, he noted.
County fire chiefs generally favor having an outdoor burn ban in place, Skidmore told commissioners.
District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader supported this new burn ban, referring to high winds and rising spring temperatures.
As vegetation starts to green, Hader expressed optimism this would be the last time one is needed for a while.
THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS
Canadian County has been under a burn ban for much of the past 3-1/2 months due to dry vegetation, windy conditions and lack of significant moisture.
Canadian County residents who want to burn outside can if permitted by their local fire districts, District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart noted.
The specific exceptions to Canadian County’s burn ban are:
- Outdoor gas grilling and charcoal grilling with a hood covering the cooking area
- Cutting and welding operations – if approved “prior to the operation” and permitted by local fire authorities having jurisdiction
- Burning vegetative debris – if the weather forecast and conditions become favorable, a detailed burn plan accompanies the request, the request is made at least 48 hours in advance, and adequate fire suppression is arranged and approved by permit
Anyone violating Canadian County’s burn ban is subject to a maximum $500 fine and/or one year in jail.
Canadian County commissioners may consider removing the burn ban at their next meeting April 11.
“We’re putting it on the agenda every week to at least talk about it,” Stewart said. “We could consider cutting it off next week if need be.”