It's wildfire season in Oklahoma and recent grass fires have been reported locally in several areas, including Maud and Tecumseh.

It's wildfire season in Oklahoma and recent grass fires have been reported locally in several areas, including Maud and Tecumseh.

Statewide, the Oklahoma Forestry Services and the National Weather Service are closely monitoring weather conditions .

“Your actions can make a difference with these types of conditions and we are asking everyone to take care or delay any activities that could spark a blaze,” State Forester George Geissler said. “It is incredibly dry out there and any fire that starts will spread rapidly making suppression very difficult.”

Western Oklahoma continues to be fall into the high-risk category during the wildfire season.

“We are going to see these conditions continue to ebb and flow until we receive significant moisture,” Geissler said. “Predictive services are putting Oklahoma in the bullseye for a very bad winter fire season that is predicted to last until late March or early April.”

A grass fire reportedly consumed 70 acres in the Maud area Thursday, and several fires were reported this last week in Tecumseh as well.

The Fire Situation Report issued by the Oklahoma Forestry Services for Jan. 26 indicates fire danger will continue through the weekend along and west of the I-44 corridor.

On Saturday, the highest fire danger will be present west of a line from Alfalfa to Cotton Counties. Winds will range from 7-13 mph with potential for higher gusts, the report indicates.

Similar conditions will continue through Sunday with westerly winds. The greatest concern will reside in western Oklahoma, the report indicates.

Currently Pottawatomie County is not under a burn ban. The 18 counties that are under a burn ban as of Wednesday are Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woodward, Major, Alfalfa, Grant, Custer, Jackson, Tillman, Cotton, Jefferson, Garvin, Carter, Love, Coal, Pittsburg.

Oklahoma Forestry Services recommends refraining from activities like outdoor grilling, welding or any other activity that would spark a blaze.

In 2010, Governor Brad Henry approved House Bill 3210, which modified the Oklahoma Forestry Services Code to empower Boards of County Commissioners to ban outdoor burning for up to a 30-day period.

Prior to passage of a burn-ban resolution, the Pottawatomie CountyBoard of County Commissioners must declare the existence of extreme fire danger. As defined in the law, extreme fire danger means:

1. Severe, extreme, or exceptional drought conditions exist within the county as determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

2. No more than one-half (1/2) inch of precipitation is forecast for the next three (3) days by the National Weather Service.

3. Fire occurrence is significantly greater than normal for the season and/or initial attack on a significant number of wild and fires has been unsuccessful due to extreme fire behavior.

4. Where data is available, more than twenty percent (20%) of the wildfires in the county have been caused by escaped debris burning or controlled burning.

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