Violators of all burn bans in Oklahoma could face much steeper fines if legislation requested by State Rep. Mike Shelton passes during the upcoming legislative session.
Currently, violations of the burn ban are misdemeanors punishable by as much as a $500 fine and one-year imprisonment. Shelton wants to increase the fine to $2,500.
The current statewide burn ban issued Nov.15, 2005, by Gov. Brad Henry remains in effect, which prohibits fireworks, burning trash or other materials or setting fires of any kind. More than 360,000 acres of land have burned in recent weeks.
“These reckless acts are costing lives, destroying property and exhausting millions of taxpayer dollars because some in our state cannot follow a reasonable burn ban,” said Shelton, D-Oklahoma City. “There are some bad apples out there who feel they don’t want to comply with the law; we need to get their attention.”
Shelton represents House District 97, which encompasses a large portion of Eastern Oklahoma County where several large fires have burned thousand of acres of land and destroyed several homes in recent days.