Burn ban approved

BY STACI WILSON

A one-month ban on open burning goes into effect on Saturday, March 24 at12:01 a.m.

The county commissioners approved the burn ban resolution at the March 14 meeting.

Emergency Management Director Charlene Moser said all 18 of the fire chiefs in the county, through the Bureau of Forestry, requested the ban because of the unseasonably warm, dry winter with very little snow pack.

Moser said there have been several fires reported already this year. “We’ve had a very early start to the brush fire season.”

“(Fire companies) started fighting brush fires in February,” Moser said. “When they start fighting them that early in the season, it’s a concern.”

“It’s drier out there than people think,” she said.

The resolution makes a violation of the open burning ban a summary offense, punishable by fines of up to $100 for the first offense; $200 for the second offense; and $300 for the third offense.  The act is enforced by local and state police officers.

The burn ban will remain in effect until Monday, April 23.

The ban includes the burning of combustible materials, such as garbage, leaves, paper or any other debris in a burn barrel or on the ground.

Campfires are allowed in fire rings located in federal or DEP approved campgrounds.

The use of propane and/or charcoal grills, as well as gas stoves and tobacco are not prohibited by the burn ban.

Fire departments are allowed to manage controlled burns during the ban with department personnel and apparatus on site.

Any questions regarding the burn ban should be directed to the fire chief of your local fire company.