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State climatologist speaks on drought after Tulsa County officials re-extend burn ban

Atmospheric Research

Several counties in Eastern Oklahoma are extending their burn bans for yet another week due to the ongoing drought.

In Tulsa County, area fire officials said most of the area is experiencing a severe drought while 40% is now in an extreme drought.

State climatologist Gary McManus said while climate change is playing a minor it's role, there just hasn't been enough rainfall to alleviate the drought conditions.

"We get these rainfall sessions every three or four weeks and then we go without every three or four weeks," McManus explained. "It's basically a one step forward two steps backwards that we're seeing with the drought."

McManus said the current situation is basically two droughts put into one.

"It started back in August of 2021 and then it gotten a bit of an 'oof' as we went into June and we started a flash drought situation," said McManus. "So, a little bit of two droughts put together in the current drought that we're seeing."

Tulsa County has been under a burn ban since August 15. The current ban lasts until next Monday, October 3rd.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.