High winds change burn ban

By Joel Wright
Marion County Record – March 26, 2014

Marion Fire Chief Mike Regnier ignited a discussion about changing the parameters of the county’s burn ban protocol Monday when he met with county commissioners.

Because of controlled burns that had gotten out of control from Thursday through the weekend, Regnier notified commissioners that the majority of fire chiefs within the county were in favor of a ban. He said dry weather and changing of wind direction has led to many of the recent fires.

Because there are certain times during certain days when fire danger can be higher because of high winds, the National Weather Service issues “red flag fire warnings” to notify the public when there is a chance fires could grow out of control.

The simpler solution commissioners agreed upon would be to not allow burning for 24 hours whenever there was a predicted red flag warning or winds exceeded 20 miles per hour within the county, instead of passing a resolution to implement a burn ban. That way commissioners would not have to call a special meeting just to rescind the ban.

“Then you don’t have a burn ban for a week,” Commissioner Dan Holub said. “So when you put it on Monday but it rains tomorrow and you have to wait until the next meeting (to rescind the ban) — it’s just crazy.”

Because the current burn ban resolution has not passed, commissioners proposed to change the resolution to reflect their changes.

“To me it’s a day-to-day thing, not a weeklong thing,” Chairman Roger Fleming said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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