Home > Logan County Commission, Weather > Sharpton says burn ban is out of the hands of commissioners

Sharpton says burn ban is out of the hands of commissioners

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Despite several fires sparking up on Wednesday afternoon in Logan County, including one that charred up 1,000 acres, Logan County is not included in a burn ban.

This torched land is at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 51 looking to the north. Photo By Chris Evans

Kingfisher, Oklahoma and Lincoln counties, that border Logan County, are in a county-wide burn ban. Garfield and Noble, counties that border Logan County to the north, are not part of a burn ban.

As of Thursday afternoon, 40 of the 77 Oklahoma counties are currently under a burn ban. On Monday, July 23 Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow enacted a burn ban for the City of Guthrie until further notice.

Logan County Commissioner Mark Sharpton states it his not in the hands of the county commissioners to proclaim the ban.

“Specifically, the law states that prior to passage of a burn-ban resolution, the Board of County Commissioners must declare the existence of extreme fire danger,” Sharpton said. “This is not an action commissioners can take arbitrarily. When we assumed office, we took an oath to uphold the law, and the law is what governs the implementation of a burn ban.

Sharpton explained that extreme fire danger must meet four conditions that the Oklahoma Forestry Services provide before a ban is put into place:

1. Moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions exist within the county as determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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

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

4. More than 20% of the wildfires in the county have been caused by escaped debris burning or controlled burning activities

“At this time, according to officials who monitor this information, all of the criteria has not been met,” Sharpton said.

Sharpton went on to say that enacting a burn ban is not a cure-all.

“It will not prevent an accidental spark from agricultural equipment from starting a fire. It will not prevent a careless person from tossing a cigarette out of an automobile. It will not automatically instill wisdom into those who typically have none,” Sharpton said.

  1. July 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    If it met the criteria in all the surrounding counties south of us, and the wind has been blowing north, we are pretty safe from the southern counties fires, as they have their burn ban in place already. However, with the 1,000 acres that burned in our county yesterday, I believe the criteria is met.

  2. Mary
    July 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    How can it be out of the commissoners hands!!?? aren’t they the ones that help decide to put one on!! I agree with tonya the criteria has been met many times in the last several days!! what does it have to take all of logan county burn down with structures involved and lives possibly??!!! how about the poor fire fighters, police, citizens etc that go out and fight these fires, I’d like to see the commissoners go out and fight a couple of there fires in the heat then they may change their minds!!

  3. Justin
    July 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Mary, I’m not sure if you have ever followed coverage of a major fire in most any part of the county but the commissioners do get in there and help. They bring county equipment out and they actually work to help out the fire fighters as much as they can. The three men that we have as commissioners don’t hesitate to help the county in any way possible.

  4. Phil Leveritt
    August 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

    All our county commissioners have is lousy excuses on why Logan County isn’t under a burn ban. I’ve contacted the Forestry Service, The Governors Office, The Agriculture Dept., and all of them directed me straight back to our County commissioners! I contacted my Commissioner and all he offered up is, “It’s not that easy”. My response to that is,, DO YOUR JOB! It’s just pretty strange to me, that almost every county around us (except our short border to the north), have county commissioners that have done their job. When Is the next election?

  5. Idiocracy
    August 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Agreed, this is utter nonsense. How many more fires do we need in logan county before they decide to enact a burn ban? I will not be voting for you, and I will be informing others to do the same.

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