|Updated: 7/31/2012 9:22 am
||Published: 7/30/2012 9:47 pm
Oklahoma is vulnerable to wildfires and the state is officially under a State of Emergency.
The extreme drought and dry conditions forced Governor Mary Fallin to issue the executive order allowing agencies to make emergency purchases for disaster relief.
All of Green Country counties are under a burn ban and forty-seven of Oklahoma’s seventy-seven counties are under a burn ban.
On Monday, Tulsa County extended the burn ban to August 6th. That means no outdoor burning or you will pay a hefty fine or spend time in jail.
Law enforcement is keeping up with violators.
Throwing a lit cigarette out the window can cost you $220 in Tulsa or you are ordered to court to work out the fine in front of the judge.
That law isn’t included in the burn ban, but if it starts a fire or if you do any outdoor burning you could face a $500 fine.
Pastures filled with hay bales is a scary reminder for Tulsa County Deputy Christopher Yerton.
In August 2011, sparks from chains dragging from a trailer ignited a neighborhood and damaged nine homes.
"It's a big tinder box. It's so dry out there it doesn't take much,” said Yerton.
Deputy Yerton drove to another charred spot in the 5500 block of 136th Street North near Collinsville.
"It wouldn't take much to jump across the street,” said Yerton.
However, burning trash is a burn violation.
“We got this call last night about 8:45,” said Yerton.
A call about a suspicious odor in Turley.
"It was real thick, not smokey, just the odor. It was burning trash,” said Yerton.
However, at night and with heavy cloud cover the smoke was hard to find its origin.
"It blends in real good,” said Yerton.
Neighbors said they are abiding by the burn ban.
“We don't burn trash, but I do know people that do that,” said the Patricia.
She doesn’t live very far from last year’s fire that destroyed the neighborhood in Turley.
Gas and electric grills are the exception and Patricia said she wouldn’t dare fire up her charcoal grill.
"It's too hot to stand outside and we don't want to take any chances with the grass so high we don't want the neighborhood to go up," said Patricia.
Deputies said they rely on their eyes and nose for smoke signals, but they also rely on neighbors to report potential violators.
"We are not going to hand them up with a thousand dollar ticket. We are going to give them a warning and educate them,” said Yerton.
While law enforcement may give second chances that may not be the case for everyone. The City of Tulsa prosecutor said one burn ban violation has been issued since the burn ban took effect on July 6th. The citation was issued by the Fire Marshal’s Office for outdoor burning after a fire caused damage.
Grilling exemptions include gas or electric grills but they are required to be over a non-flammable surface such as concrete or gravel and water hose must be nearby.