GRADY COUNTY, Okla. — When Vernon Jones checked, there was no burn ban for Grady County.
Jones said, “I checked this morning on the news and you all said it was clear.”
But 30 minutes after he torched an old chicken house, Grady County Commissioners issued a burn ban declaration.
Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said, “We understand the commissioners just put this into effect. So it’ll take a while to get the word out.”
Fire officials statewide are spreading the word, letting Oklahomans know there are serious consequences for deliberately ignoring the ban, whether it’s building a bonfire or burning trash.
Amber Fire Chief Mike Norman said, “There is a $1,000 fine if you get caught during a burn ban, up to $1,000.”
Officials said the dry brush and cedar trees are ripe for wildfires.
A blaze in Payne County Monday claimed a more than a half-dozen homes and hundreds of acres.
Thompson said, “It wouldn’t take but just a small ember from this fire to get over there in the tall, dry brush and then we’d be in a world of trouble.”
Even though two dozen counties are not currently under a ban, fire officials suggest holding off on that controlled burn or campfire.
Thompson said, “It’s better to safe than sorry.”