OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Before you fire up the grill, firefighters have a warning and it comes with several counties, especially in Southern Oklahoma, issuing burn bans. It will continue into this week.
The Oklahoma Forestry Service issued a red flag warning that’s in effect today across areas of western Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Panhandle.
We know Labor Day is all about hanging out, spending time with friends and also grilling some good food! But fire officials want to remind you about just how easy it is to spark a fire when cooking on a grill.
Drew Daily with the Oklahoma Forestry Service said it’s important to keep anything flammable, even leaves and plastic trash cans, far away from grills.
“In those areas where campfires and grilling is allowed, just be sure that you’re doing it over a noncombustible surface. Should one start, immediately throw a bucket of water, have a garden hose that’s charged, or a hand tool, like a rake or something, to just snuff out a fire that gets started; especially before it becomes fully established and turns into an actual wildfire,” said Drew Daily, Oklahoma Forestry Service.
The dry grass, heat and wind is creating dangerous fire conditions on a holiday typically filled with outdoor activities.
“With regard to off road vehicle use… Just make sure you have a fire extinguisher in place to make sure that those pieces of equipment are properly maintained, bearings are greased, so that we’re doing all we can to avoid sparking wildfires,” said Daily.
It’s pushing Oklahoma’s fire danger to extremely high levels over Labor Day weekend.
“During the month of August, we had record setting temperatures… Fire danger has continually increased throughout August and into this early part of September. With Labor Day, we are seeing an anomalous or not totally expected this time of the year, kind of a weather system which is really ramping up fire danger in a large part, and that fire danger will be driven by the hot, dry, windy conditions,” said Daily.
According to the Oklahoma Forestry Service burn ban map, nine southern counties including Garvin is under a burn ban right now.
The drought and fire danger is only getting worse this week.
“It has been dry, and it has been windy. And unfortunately, when you get that combination, it leads to extreme fire danger,” said Damien Lodes, meteorologist at KFOR.
The 4 Warn Storm team says over It’s been historically dry in Oklahoma for more than a month and the trend will continue this week with little precipitation in the forecast.
“Normally this time of year, we start to see an increase in our rain chances. Not going to be the case over the next couple of weeks,” said Lodes.
Firefighters across Oklahoma were busy this Labor Day weekend.
The Oklahoma Forestry Service said fire danger concerns continue to remain in place over much of Oklahoma, so be careful when using grills, camping and parking vehicles in the grass.