Despite cooling, conditions still ripe for wildfires

Canadian County enacts new ‘burn ban’ due to extreme fire danger

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Josh Davis

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – Canadian County on Oct. 3 became the 27th county in Oklahoma to enact a burn ban due to this fall’s extreme fire danger.

Canadian County Commissioners voted 3-0 Monday morning to approve new outdoor burning restrictions.

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Canadian County may get a “reprieve” with cooler temperatures, but the county’s new Emergency Manager Josh Davis said conditions are still ripe for wildfires.

The two-week burn ban is due to expire at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 17, but could be lifted before then if conditions improve.

A consensus of the county’s fire chiefs recommended that commissioners implement the ban.

“There are 26 of the 77 counties that are already in a burn ban,” Davis said. “We meet the criteria for a burn ban.

“There’s no rain in the foreseeable future and we are, 100%, in a severe drought (according to) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric NOAA Administration.”

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry indicates that cooler temperatures in the “near-term forecast” may offer “abbreviated burning periods”, although the expectation for increasing rates of wildfire occurrence and fire severity continues to build.

Canadian County has been under a burn ban, on and off, for much of 2022 due to dry vegetation, windy conditions and lack of significant moisture.

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

Canadian County residents who want to burn during a burn ban must receive permission from their local fire districts.

Anyone violating Canadian County’s burn ban is subject to a maximum $500 fine and/or one year in jail.

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THIS AND THAT …

In other action at their weekly meeting Oct. 3, Canadian County Commissioners approved:

  • A proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • A proclamation recognizing October as National 4-H Month.
  • An agreement with the City of Oklahoma City for a Gregory Road paving project in District 2.
  • A resolution allowing Canadian County Emergency Management to accept a $250 donation from Devon Energy Corp.

Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward presented the weekly county jail report showing an inmate population totaling 242, with 213 prisoners in the El Reno detention center and 29 housed in outside contract facilities.

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