Even as a gray sky threatened rain, the Barton County Commission Monday morning signed a resolution continuing the county-wide burn ban. Despite showers over the weekend, “we still haven’t received a measurable amount of rain,” said Amy Miller, county emergency risk manager.
The proclamation states that due to extremely dry weather conditions an extreme fire hazard exists in Barton County. It was effective at noon Monday and prohibits open trash burning, campfires, and all open fires.
Triple digit temperatures continued in Barton County this past week. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows Barton County is in severe drought conditions and the forecast is for drought conditions to linger through September, Miller said.
“There was not enough rain to green things up,” said Communications Director Doug Hubbard, adding there was a quarter of an inch of rain in the Claflin area.
As for the fireworks ban and postponement, “I think you did a good thing,” Hubbard said to the commissioners. There were five fireworks-related fires on July 3 and 4 in the Great Bend Fire District, and one each in Ellinwood, Hoisington and Pawnee Rock. There were none elsewhere in the county.
Authorities responded to a number of fireworks complaints over the holiday, but not as many as in years past, he said. One citation was issued for a violation, and that was for a fire started in the evening of July 3.
Commissioners said most of the comments they’ve received from constituents about the postponement have been positive.
Any questions concerning local burning should be directed to the fire chief having jurisdiction of the area where the burning is to take place. The fire chief may or may not issue an agricultural burning permit.
Violation of this state of emergency may result in fines of up to $2,500.
This state of emergency will be in force until noon July 16. At that time it may be extended if weather conditions do not improve.