Governor Mary Fallin on Friday declared a state of emergency for 52 counties due to wildfires that began Thursday along with ongoing drought conditions.
The counties included in the governor’s declaration are Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, McClain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
More than 200,000 acres have burned across the state since Thursday, including large fires in Woodward and Dewey counties that have prompted numerous evacuations. Extreme fire conditions are expected again today.
Under the governor’s executive order, state agencies may make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
The governor’s burn ban remains in effect for 16 counties: Beaver, Beckham, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills, Texas, Washita, Woods, and Woodward. The governor’s burn ban makes it unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands, or marshes; to build a bonfire or fire; to burn or ignite fireworks; or to burn trash or other materials outdoors in any of the listed counties.
Additional county burn bans are in place for the following counties: Alfalfa, Canadian, Grant, and Major.
“I’m asking all Oklahomans to be vigilant and careful, and to do their part to prevent fires,” said Fallin. “Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe.”
The executive order is in effect for 30 days, and could be amended to include additional counties if needed.