On Wednesday, March 18th, the Douglas County Commission approved the extension of the countywide burn ban through March 25th following a unanimous recommendation from township fire chiefs.
While we are experiencing wet conditions today and tomorrow, warm and dry conditions return later this week and through the weekend. That is the time when local fire chiefs are most concerned about dangerous fire conditions returning like what has been seen over the last week. Those conditions and resulting fires greatly taxed local fire resources and personnel. Much of the grasses across the county are cured (dry and/or dying). These grasses quickly respond to changes in air moisture and on warm, dry days can rapidly lose any moisture gained. These grasses, once they’ve lost their moisture, burn more intensely and can spread and get out of control rapidly. This is the reasoning behind the fire chiefs requesting a burn ban remain in place for another week unless the rain greatly changes current conditions.
During the burn ban the following activities are prohibited outdoors:
(a) The careless use and disposal of smoking materials, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars and pipes. All smoldering remains shall be discarded in inflammable containers and in a manner to reduce the potential for fires.
(b) Building, maintaining, attending or using any open fire or campfire, except in permanent stoves or fireplaces or in barbecue grills in developed recreational sites or on residential home sites.
(c) Burning of all fencerows, fields, wild lands, ravines, trash, debris or areas or materials.
The county’s resolution states, “As provided in K.S.A. 48-939, the knowing or willful violation of any restrictions adopted pursuant to this resolution shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided by law therefore.”