McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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February 18, 2014

Burn Ban for Pittsburg County

McALESTER — The Pittsburg County commissioners voted for a county-wide burn ban Tuesday morning.

The commissioners met for regular meeting at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. The regular Monday meeting was rescheduled due to the President’s Day holiday.

The burn ban was requested by Pittsburg County Emergency Manager Kevin Enloe.

“We spent the weekend chasing grass fires,” Enloe said.

District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith said a poll of the Pittsurg County fire departments was conducted and a majority said they would like to see the burn ban in place.

“We had 21 ‘yes’ votes, five ‘no’ votes, and two that we weren’t able to contact,’ Smith said.

He said the county-wide burn ban is set to remain in effect for seven days, with the possibility that it could be extended if necessary.

Enloe said no rain is expected for at least the next week.

“We are expecting humid windy weather,” he said.

While the burn ban is in place burning grass or setting fire to any grass, crop, range, forest or wildlands is prohibited.

The ban also prohibits burning trash or building a bonfire or campfire or burning other material that may cause a forest, grass, range, crop or other wildlands fire.

Anyone convicted of violating the burn ban faces a possible penalty of up to a year in jail, a fine of not more than $500, or both, according to the burn ban.

Several exceptions are provided to the burn ban, including propane equipment related to road construction projects, and welding and cutting torch activities under specified conditions. LPG, natural gas and charcoal cooking in a grilling receptacle is also allowed, as long as the activity is conducted over a non-flammable surface at least five feet from flammable vegetation.

An exclusion has also been provided for McAlester Fire Department for a live fire training exercise.

District 3 Commissioner Trent Myers and District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers also attended Tuesday’s meeting.

The Pittsburg County commissioners meet Mondays at 9 a.m. in the commissioner’s conference room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

The meetings are open to the public.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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