The Barton County Commission will meet as the Board of County Canvassers at 8 a.m. Monday in the Office of the County Clerk. At that time, they will canvass ballots from today’s primary election. The Commission’s budget hearing and agenda meeting will begin at 9 a.m. or immediately following the close of the canvass.
Barton County officials and local fire chiefs want to assure residents they will eventually be able to set off fireworks, but due to the on-going withering drought, that time is not now.
On July 2, the commission adopted a resolution which effectively banned the discharge of fireworks in the unincorporated area of Barton County. The action was taken as the hot, dry weather pattern created a dangerous situation in regard to fire.
At that time, it was determined that the commission would revisit the issue on Aug. 6, which was Monday. But, “we are asking that you continue the ban,” Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said as the commission met Monday morning at the Courthouse.
The commission agreed, voting to postpone indefinitely any action on a belated Independence Day celebration.
“The intent is to still have a day where you can discharge fireworks,” Napolitano said. “We are just not sure when that day is going to be.”
In enacting its fireworks ban in July, the City of Great Bend put off a decision indefinitely.
In an issue inextricably linked to the fireworks ban, the commission also extended the county-wide burn ban for another week at the behest of Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller. “We’re back here again,” she said.
In addition to Napolitano, there were fire chiefs from other Barton County departments and Communications Director Doug Hubbard in the audience. They all backed the action.
So, the commission signed another resolution extending the prohibition effective at noon Monday, banning open trash burning, campfires, and all open fires. This state of emergency will continue until noon, Monday, Aug. 13, at which time it may be extended if weather conditions do not improve.
Despite scattered showers over the weekend, drought conditions worsen across Kansas as below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures continue, and the fire potential remains high at this time, Miller said. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows Barton County is in extreme drought conditions.
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.