By the order of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, all outdoor burning, combustible materials and ignition sources are banned in 45 counties including all of Western Oklahoma and Logan County.
Extreme fire conditions exist in these counties due to extraordinary drought. “The number of wildfires we have had over the last few months is extremely tough on our state firefighters,” Fallin said. “It’s a drain on their resources as well as a physical drain. Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe. I’m asking all Oklahomans to be vigilant and to do their part in preventing fires.”
Failure to observe this ban may result in criminal prosecution under O.S. Title 2 Article 16 § 26, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1000, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
FOR EQUIPMENT RELATED TO ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Equipment which uses propane or other controlled-type burners is generally regarded as safe, however it would be prudent to have a water pumper on standby any time this equipment is used near a grassy right-of-way.
Other types of burners pose a higher risk, particularly if they are of open design or are burning while being transported. If a safety zone wider than the flame length is established, these burners are generally safe. If they are pulled onto a grassy surface, the burner should be extinguished. A concept of “reasonable and prudent” must be applied when using this type of equipment.
WELDING/CUTTING TORCH/GRINDING ACTIVITIES
Outdoor welding or cutting torch activities cause many fires each year, and the ban is intended to prevent wildland fires caused by this activity. In addition to the penalties prescribed in the law for violations of the outdoor burning ban, operators may also be liable for damages caused by a fire, and for the costs of suppressing such fire. Extreme caution is advised. Outdoor welding and cutting torch activities may continue under the following conditions:
1. When conducted over a non-combustible surface of at least 10 feet by 10 feet and when welding blankets or screens are used to cover flammable vegetation; and
2. Wind speeds must be less than 20 mph; and
3. A fire watch, other than the welder, is posted at the welding/cutting torch site with pressurized water or fire extinguisher.
OILFIELD AND LANDFILL ACTIVITIES
Gas vents and flares associated with the extraction of oil and gas or the refining of oil and gas (or other manufacturing processes or landfill operations) are generally considered exempt from the ban as long as the top of the vent pipe is raised well above the surrounding vegetation.
Sludge pits are covered under the ban and should not be burned while it is in effect.
STORM AND LAND CLEARING DEBRIS
Woody debris (limbs, branches, etc.) may be burned under the following conditions:
1. An air-curtain incinerator, which burns the debris in a pit below ground level, must be used; and
2. Department of Environmental Quality Open Burning rules are followed; and
3. The area where the burn is conducted is cleared of vegetation for a 100’ radius; and
4. Wind speed is less than 15 mph; and
5. Water and water pumping equipment is on-site.
CAMPFIRES AND OUTDOOR COOKING
Outdoor campfires or bonfires are prohibited. LPG and natural gas grills and charcoal-fired cooking outside in a grilling receptacle are permitted provided that the activity is conducted over a non flammable surface and at least five feet from flammable vegetation. Coleman-type pressurized stoves are exempt. However, any fire resulting from grilling or the use of one of these cookers or stoves is still an illegal fire.
Organized public fireworks displays are allowed under this ban if the public fireworks displays are permitted by a municipality with jurisdictional authority and conducted by trained professionals with approval of the local fire department or State Fire Marshal’s Office.
NATIVE AMERICAN CEREMONIAL FIRES
Native American ceremonial fires conducted in Sweat Lodges or over non-flammable surfaces of at least 10 feet by 10 feet are exempt from this Ban.
STATE FIRE SCHOOLS AND FIRE TRAINING
Live burns for firefighter training in conjunction with State Fire Schools and/or Firefighter Academies are exempt from this Ban. The live burns must be held on training grounds located at OSU Fire Service Training Regional Training facilities, regional Career Technology Centers, or Fire Department Training facilities. The burns must also be conducted over non-flammable surfaces and be held in accordance with Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality rules. Live burns for wildland fire training are not allowed.