Have Fun and Stay Wildfire Aware This July 4th Holiday

Oklahoma City- As Oklahomans prepare for a fun-filled July 4th officials with Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, want citizens to continue to be aware of the potential for wildfires.

“We hope everyone will have a great Independence Day and use caution to avoid accidentally starting a wildfire,” said George Geissler, State Forester. “With continued vigilance by Oklahomans we can safely enjoy activities like grilling, campfires and fireworks while celebrating the holiday.”

Oklahoma’s drought conditions are severe in some parts of the state and the predicted weather will make the possibility of wildland fire greater. Under these conditions even a spark thrown by a lawnmower hitting a rock can start a wildfire.  By following a few simple safety tips we can minimize the possibility of igniting a wildfire.

Campfires are restricted to designated campgrounds in national forests and state parks.  The use of fireworks is prohibited within the city limits of many of our communities, our national forest, wildlife management areas, and in all Oklahoma State Parks For specific information regarding restrictions in their area OFS recommends they call their county or city officials.

“We want all Oklahomans, including our firefighters who would have to respond a wildland fire, to celebrate the holiday and enjoy time with their families,” said Geissler. “If you grill, have a campfire or use fireworks have fun but be safe and consider attending one of the community fireworks shows across the state.”

 Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Obey local laws.  If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Use fireworks under close adult supervision in safe areas away from dry grass and brush.
  • Keep fireworks away from homes and structures, which can be accidentally ignited.
  • Keep a hose, bucket of water and wet towels nearby to extinguish small fires.
  • Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.

Grilling and Campfire Safety Tips

  • Consider using propane stove or barbecue grill instead of an open fire when it’s dry and windy.
  • Put barbecue grills over bare dirt or other fire resistant surfaces – away from dead grass and weeds. Never transport a barbecue pit or grill with live coals.
  • Build campfires in open, level spots away from trees and overhanging branches; preferably in designated fire rings or fire receptacles.
  • Never leave a campfire or cooking fire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire with water before leaving it. The ashes and coals are not safe to leave until they are cool enough to touch.

Currently there are two county burn bans in place for Beaver and LeFlore counties. For a current list of bans, as well as a link to the burn ban resolutions visit www.forestry.ok.gov.