On March 13, the County Commission established a temporary burn ban in Barton County, prompted by wildland fire conditions at the time. However, the picture is damper now.
“Since then, we’ve been blessed with some rain,” Emergency Management Director Amy Miller told commissioners Monday morning. In light of this, the commission voted to lift the restrictions.
The action met with approval from fire chiefs around the county. Both Claflin Fire Chief Doug Hubbard and Great Bend Chief Mike Napolitano were present and voiced their support, as well as their appreciation for the ban that they credited with preventing emergency fire calls.
This is good timing for farmers, Miller said. Since it is spring, they are preparing do seasonal burning of their fields.
The ban went into effect Monday, March 13, and prohibited all outdoor open burning in the rural areas of the county. It remained in force until the commission voted to rescind it.
Violation of this burn ban resolution could have resulted in fines of up to $1,000.
Fire chiefs across the county had already been advising burn permit holders against rural burning. But, with no measurable rain in the forecast then, they all felt a total ban would be better.
Up until the ban, fire chiefs were issuing fire restrictions, requesting applicants to hold off on burning. But requests without a ban don’t have the force of law.
Steve Gant, who lives south of Great Bend, was present at the meeting and complained that during the ban he was not allowed to burn a pile of limbs on his property. “It’s really my decision,” he said, adding if anything on the land was damaged, it was his property and he would accept the consequences.
He said he’s been repeatedly denied permission to burn debris over the years. He said he’s been tempted to burn anyway and face the legal ramifications.
He was urged by commissioners not to take this action and to contact the fire chief covering his area of the county now.