February 25, 2014

Commissioners lift burn ban in weekly meeting

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star


The Grady County Burn Ban has been lifted for one week, the Grady County Commissioners decided on Monday. 

Mike Lennier, Grady County Commissioner cautioned that residents still need to be extremely careful if they do choose to burn, as burning is still very dangerous under the current conditions. 

Lennier said that he understood conditions are not optimal for lifting the ban, however he understood that farmers have burning that needs to be done. 

He advised that anyone wanting to burn should still follow careful procedures while burning. 

It was also advised that residents contact the Grady County Sheriff's Office before burning so that emergency services are aware that the burning is intentional as it is a waste of resources for firefighters to be sent out to fires that are actually intentional. 

Whether or not the burn ban is in place, residents who burn are still liable for burns that get out of control, Lennier said. 

The burn ban will remain on the Grady County Commissioner's agenda each week until conditions change significantly. 

Grady County is still under a drought, Dale Thompson, Grady County Emergency Management Director, said on Monday. The county meets all of the criteria except the north end of the county is in abnormal drought conditions and the southern part of the county is in extreme drought. While a slight chance of rain is possible very early in the week, according to Southern Plains Drought Outlook, the weather continues to be dry. 

However, this doesn't necessarily give the full picture of how bad the drought is. Paulette Nicholas, Grady County Emergency Management Deputy said that the Southern Plains Drought Outlook only goes by the moisture that is in the ground. 

"It's not the dirt that's burning. It's the [dry] grass on top of it," Nicholas said. 

Several grass fires occurred over the weekend. One almost reached the housing additions near 29th and Grand Ave. About 50 acres burned due to a welding incident with estimated costs of $24,000. There was another fire near the Salt Creek Casino in the Pocasset area. 

In other business: 

Larry A. Crabb was appointed as representative from the ACME Fire Station to the Grady County Fire Board. 

Larry Hayes was appointed at representative from the Cox City Fire Station to the Grady County Fire Board. 

George Manning was appointed as the Grady County Fire Department Safety Officer and Paulette Nicholas as Assistant Safety Officer to the Grady County Fire Department. Former Safety Director, Terry Beard, expressed his thanks to the commissioners for his years of service.