GUTHRIE — Gov. Mary Fallin traveled to the Guthrie area Monday to visit with emergency officials and other first responders as crews continued to battle a massive wildfire in Logan County that has burned almost 2,500 acres and claimed one life.
At least 1,000 residents had been evacuated, but most were allowed to return to their homes Monday morning.
Fallin met with forestry officials to determine whether to issue a statewide burn ban. Later in the day, she issued a burn ban for 36 counties, nearly half the state. Oklahoma and Logan counties are included.
The ban makes it unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes, to build a bonfire or fire, to burn or ignite fireworks or to burn trash or other materials outdoors in any of the listed counties.
Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, recommended the ban based on an analysis of fire activity, wildland fuel conditions and the predicted continued drought, according to the governor’s office.
Fallin also declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties due to wildfires that began Sunday. The action marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance, should it be needed.
Other fires were reported Sunday and raging into Monday near Altus, Jennings and Keystone Lake in Pawnee County, Seiling, Stillwater and east of Woodward. Damage assessments are ongoing.
Payne County and Harper County became the latest counties Monday to enact burn bans. Those counties join Alfalfa, Cimarron, Custer and Roger Mills counties, which have all been under a burn ban since April 28.
“We have extreme conditions for fire right now,” Fallin said. “We had fires at Woodward and Altus and Keystone Lake and fires popping up in other places. We have a lot of things going on in the state. We pulled together all the resources we can and we put the command center here in Logan County because of so many fires threatening the community.”