Douglas County Commission approves more flexible burn ban language

By Elvyn Jones
Lawrence Journal World – March 30, 2017

The Douglas County Commission approved a measure that provides more flexibility in restricting open burning in rural areas of the county.

In 2015, the commission approved a resolution allowing the county to forbid open burning on days deemed unsafe. The measure approved at Wednesday’s meeting amends the language of the 2015 resolution to do away with wind speeds as a specific criterion for daily bans. Wakarusa Township Fire Department Fire Chief Mike Baxter said the new language would provide more leniency and allow burning on wet days when predicted wind speeds would normally have forbidden it.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said banning burns during wet conditions and in other safe situations undermined the credibility of the bans and could encourage rural residents to ignore them.

The new language will continue to ban opening burning on days in which the National Weather Service in Topeka lists the rangeland fire index as very high, extreme or red flag. The approved language gives Weinaug or a designee the authority to prohibit burning based on local conditions on days with a low, moderate or high index. Specifically, the county administrator or designee could forbid burning when sustained wind speeds of 20 mph were forecast for a moderate-risk day, or if 15 mph winds were predicted for a high-risk day.

Weinaug said he was still working to identify who would be designated to make the daily 6 a.m. decision to ban or allow open burning. He said that before the changes take effect, he would identify a county employee to work with Teri Smith, Douglas County Emergency Management director, to make that early-morning decision.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

1 Response to “Douglas County Commission approves more flexible burn ban language”

  1. 1 Anonymous March 30, 2017 at 8:38 am

    So who writes the tickets on a no burn day.


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