Grass fires down in last five years

Manhattan Mercury – December 17, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – December 23, 2013

The number of grass fires in Pottawatomie County has decreased dramatically in the five years since the county instituted a permitting system for burning pastures.

Before the county implemented the system in 2009, there were an average of 398 grass fires per year, fire supervisor Bruce Brazzle told Pott County Commissioners Monday.

In the five years since, the average number of grass fires has dropped to 231 annually.

The reduction in grass fires has also resulted in a cost savings to rural fire departments under the county’s umbrella, Brazzle said.

Using national cost figures for fuel and wear and tear on equipment, Brazzle estimated rural fire departments have saved anywhere from $81,500 to $163,000 since the burn permit system was implemented in 2009.

“That’s a good savings and it’s a good program,” Brazzle said. “We’ll keep it up.”

In the first year, 940 burn permits were issued to Pottawatomie County landowners. Today there are 1,156 permits issued, Brazzle said.

Brazzle also updated commissioners on new EMS buildings at Onaga and Westmoreland and reviewed longterm needs of rural departments.

The Olsburg and Havensville departments are in need of new tanker trucks and the Wheaton and Olsburg departments need new fire stations, Brazzle said.

Although the communities have had discussions on new stations, no time line has been established, he said.

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