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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Gov. removes Pottawatomie from statewide ban

  • Governor Mary Fallin on Monday removed 22 counties form the statewide burn plan, including Pottawatomie, Lincoln and Seminole counties.
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  • Governor Mary Fallin on Monday removed 22 counties form the statewide burn plan, including Pottawatomie, Lincoln and Seminole counties.
     
    The Governor's statewide burn ban had been in place since Aug. 3, but many areas of the state had county burn bans in places for several weeks before that.
     
    Don Lynch, Shawnee/Pottawatomie County emergency management director, said along with the governor lifting the ban for Pottawatomie County, there is currently no county-enacted burn ban in place.
     
    Lynch reminds everyone they still should be cautious with any type of outdoor fire.
     
    "While we are greener, stuff is still burning," Lynch said.
     
    Lynch said he and the county's fire chiefs will be monitoring conditions this week. In the event there's a problem with any grass fires, he said county commissioners could call an emergency meeting to consider a county-declared burn ban.
     
    Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said he agrees with the ban being lifted.
     
    "It's wet enough and green enough," Williams said.
     
    Williams said allowing burning now will be beneficial to those who need to get things done before winter. And with a grass fire season expected when grasses go dormant in the next couple months, Williams said this might be an opportunity for everyone to clear brush away from their properties, which can help in the event of a wildfire.
     
    For those choosing to burn in Tecumseh, Williams asks residents to call the fire department's non-emergency number to report their burn in case firefighters receive calls of a fire in that area.
     
    Shawnee Fire Chief David Short said the rains helped reduce some of the hazards, but he encourages anyone trying to catch up on burning to remember the items that can be legally burned and to be very careful.
     
    The change in the Governor's burn ban is due to improving wildland fire conditions and comes at the request of Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
     
    Fallin thanked Oklahomans and first responders for assisting the state in combating wildfires during this summer's long drought.
     
    "With wildfires burning thousands of acres and hundreds of homes, this was a difficult summer for many families and businesses," Fallin said. "However, challenging circumstances once again gave Oklahomans an opportunity to demonstrate why we are such a strong and resilient community. My thanks go out to our first responders and firefighters, the many volunteers who worked to support their operations or offer help to friends and neighbors in-need, and all of our citizens for their vigilance in preventing wildfires and obeying state and county burn bans."
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    In the counties no longer covered by the Governor's Burn Ban, citizens are urged to check with local officials or visit www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information to see if county burn bans have been enacted before doing any type of burning.
     
    "Though several counties are not covered by burn bans, conditions are still conducive to sustaining wildland fire," said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. "I ask all Oklahomans to be very cautious with activities that could spark a wildfire such as grilling, campfires or any other outdoor burning."
     
    The Governor's burn ban is now in effect for Adair, Alfalfa, Beaver, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Cimarron, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Custer, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Haskell, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, LeFlore, Logan, Love, McIntosh, Major, Marshall, Mayes, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Rogers, Sequoyah, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods and Woodward Counties.
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