Fire Chief reminds farmers, ranchers to use caution when burning

By Melanie McGee
Yates Center News – March 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 21, 2014

Every spring, farmers and ranchers burn large amounts of pastures and hay meadows, and the potential for the Woodson County Rural Fire Department to be called out goes up.

Woodson County requires burn permits for any fires that will be set and while the permits are free, they are very important to the fire department.

“There have been mixed emotions about the burn permits in the past, and I would like to clarify how the burn permits help the emergency departments,” Rural Fire Chief Nick Barney said. “When you call your fire in to the sheriff’s office, they ask for your permit number and the location that you will be conducting the burn. Having the location logged helps reduce the number of false alarms and wasted trips for the fire department.”

Those wasted trips quickly add up for Barney’s department, which still must pay firefighters if they are called out on a false alarm.

“This way, when someone is driving down the highway, sees a fire and calls 911, the dispatcher can look on the log and see if someone is burning at that location,” Barney said. “At that time, she might call the individual who is burning to make sure their fire is under control before she pages the fire department out. If we go out on a false call, it costs the county practically the same as if we had to extinguish the fire. We still have to pay our volunteers, pay for fuel and repairs, so calling in your fire helps the fire department reduce costs.”

In the first nearly three months of 2014, the Woodson County Rural Fire Department has responded to 28 calls, including 14 in the first 19 days of March. Three calls were to provide mutual aid to the Toronto, Wilson County and Allen County Fire Departments. Of the 14 calls in March, 11 were fires, and there was one auto accident, one ATV accident and one tractor fire.

“This year, there is a lot of grass in the pastures and meadows, and I would like to ask everyone to take that into consideration before you conduct your burn,” Barney said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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