Despite several fires throughout Ottawa County in the past week, Emergency Management Manager Frank Geasland said they have not issued a countywide burn ban.

“I have talked to our area chief’s,” said Geasland. “I like to get them all to agree. Right now, I have seven in favor of it and two against it.”

Craig County is one of four area counties who have issued a burn ban. High winds have put the state in a high grass fire danger, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Department.

In all, 40 Oklahoma counties have imposed burn bans for the next seven days.

Counties can impose the burn ban when drought conditions exist and no more than a half-inch of rain is predicted within the next three days.

So why is there an extreme fire danger when Oklahoma recently had snow and ice storms?

Because the ratio of snow to rain is about 10:1. It takes ten inches of snow to equal one inch of rain.

Although a ban has not been issued for Ottawa County, firefighters say residents should still use caution.

“You shouldn’t throw cigarettes on the ground,” said Captain Ronnie Ross. “That is one of the leading causes of grass fires.”

Ross said people should also use caution when burning trash and emptying asses from fireplaces.

“Make sure you have a wide area of low vegetation around the area where trash is burned or ashes are dumped,” said Ross.

The most important safety measure is to keep  a close watch on whatever is burning and be aware of the wind.

“Don’t burn when the wind is blowing,” said Ross.

Residents should also keep updated on burn bans in their area. Violating a burn ban could cost $500 and up to a year in jail.

For updated information on burn bans visit the forestry department’s website at www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information.