The winds have died down and fires subsided some but parched Oklahomans are praying hard for some precipitation soon. It's so bad, some will settle for snow or sleet, just so that it melts into the ground.

Wildfires destroyed more than 60 homes and charred more than 50,000 acres last week. The fire danger still exists as few areas of the state have received any measurable precipitation in weeks. On top of that, winds as high as 60 miles per hour have turned the countryside into a tinder box.

Norman's last rain came Oct. 31, according to records from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Officials say it is the second driest November on record. Only 1955 had a drier November.

Gov. Henry this past week took to the air in a helicopter to tour the burned areas in eastern Oklahoma. He issued an emergency wildfire declaration. A burn ban was issued Nov. 15 for all 77 counties.

The federal government has come to the state's aid. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of federal dollars to fight fires in Garvin County and Carter County.

Under the declaration, funds become available for paying up to 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs. Some of the smaller, rural fire departments have been hard-pressed to cover the expenses of fighting the blazes.

Gov. Henry, in an Associated Press story, reminded Oklahomans of the need to follow rules of the burn ban. For now, it's gone beyond being law-abiding citizens. It's a matter of public safety.

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