Labette County issues burn ban starting today

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – February 23, 2016

Pasture fires last Thursday spawned action and lengthy discussion by the Labette County Commission Monday.

The commission agreed to institute a burn ban in the county, effective today (Tuesday), and the ban remains in effect until removed by the board, generally after sufficient rainfall. The action is not a blanket ban on agricultural burning; some burning will be permitted with written permission of the fire chief responsible for the district where the burn will take place. The ban prohibits the careless use of smoking materials and building or maintaining an open fire or camp fire. Violation of the resolution is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and perhaps jail time.

Commissioners discussed items related to the fires at different times with Brandy Grassl, the county’s 911 director and interim emergency management director, and with Sandy Krider and Ralph George, the director and assistant director of Public Works.

The busiest day for grass fires was Thursday, after humidity dropped in the early afternoon, Grassl said.

“Thursday was a mess.

“It was making me nervous in the fact that it was getting pretty hairy pretty fast,” she said.

The first grass fire was reported near 2000 and Ellis Roads southwest of Edna. Edna was dispatched to the pasture fire and asked for additional help and eventually six departments assisted. Wind gusts from the south in the area approached or exceeded 50 mph.

The Edna fire burned portions of three sections before it was contained. Grassl said shortly after the Edna fire call another fire was reported at 8000 and Wallace roads. Chetopa and Oswego responded to it.

Altamont-Mount Pleasant firefighters were bringing water to Edna, but had to pull back when a small fire was reported in the city. It was extinguished quickly.

Another fire report came from 12500 and Scott roads along railroad tracks and another involved smoldering manure near the Montgomery County line.

In the middle of the afternoon, while fire departments were running back and forth for water, power failed in Edna, the main source for water for the Edna fire. Other towns in the southern part of the county were out of power as well, including Altamont. It turned out that a Westar Energy ground wire near 16000 and Ness Road (two miles north of Altamont) caused the outage, Grassl said.

Fire departments were redirected to the county rock quarry at 9000 and Harper roads for water. The power came back up shortly, though.

Grassl said Edna crews were out until about 6 p.m. Thursday.

Montgomery County firefighters were busy Thursday, too, and had asked for help, but Labette County didn’t have anyone to send west.

“Everybody was busy. It was quite a day,” Grassl said.

A few more grass fires were reported on Friday, but they didn’t amount to much compared to Thursday’s acreage.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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