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February 3, 2014

County burn ban lifted

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to lift the county-wide burn ban, initially issued Jan. 27. 
The decision was made following a recommendation by Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes to lift the ban for this week while snow is on the ground.
Stokes said one major reason for fire departments’ request of a burn ban is because of wear and tear on equipment and vehicles due to fire rescue.
“Firefighters are tearing their equipment up and it’s costing them a lot of money,” said Stokes. “I do have several emails from rural fire chiefs in the county who would like to extend the burn ban. My only concern is the (County Ban on Outdoor Burning Checklist), that includes steps necessary to comply with state law when placing a ban on outdoor burning within the county.”
The checklist is issued by the Oklahoma Forestry Services and has been adopted by Rogers County commissioners.
Stokes said all steps on the list have to be checked “yes” before a burn ban can be issued or extended. Commissioners were unable to approve the extension because checklist item — less than one-half inch of precipitation is forecast during the next three days — was not applicable.
According to the National Weather Service, approximately three inches of precipitation is expected for Tuesday, and more precipitation is expected throughout the week.
“We all know that once this snow melts, it won’t be two hours and grass and brush is going to burn just like it did before,” said Stokes. “With the amount of snow predicted, this week would actually be a pretty safe time to burn after the snow accumulates.”
He highly recommends, however, that the board of commissioners address the burn ban issue during Monday’s regular meeting.

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