Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 13, 2014

State’s winter burn ban begins tomorrow

Somerset — It may be cold, but that doesn’t mean conditions are safe for outdoor burning.

Local fire officials are warning Pulaski County residents that the state winter burn ban begins this Saturday, Feb. 15. That means burning is prohibited anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. unless it takes place 150 feet or more from a woodline.

Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson said the low temperatures may have people fooled into thinking debris and grass can be burned safely, but that’s not the case.

Robinson pointed out that nearly every volunteer fire department in the county was out on Feb. 1 trying to get a number of grass fires under control. The fires started with controlled burns, but quickly got out of hand thanks to the high winds.

“We had about every department in the county out,” said Robinson. “We even lost a couple structures because we couldn’t get the fires under control.”

The burn ban will stay in effect until April 30 — or when the springtime showers should be moving in.

Robinson said those who decide to burn as per the ban regulations should call Pulaski County 911 and report it to ensure local fire departments are aware of what’s going on.

“Anytime you’re going to burn a sizable fire, it’s good to call 911 and let them know you’re doing it,” said Robinson.

Robinson said residents should use their judgment in determining whether conditions are safe to burn. If the wind is active at all, he said it’s best to err on the side of caution.

“Anytime the wind is blowing, we advise not to burn,” said Robinson.

Robinson also pointed out that burning in unsafe conditions can lead to a financial impact

“If a fire is started and gets out of control and burns you neighbor’s hay field or your neighbor’s garage, you’re responsible for it if it starts on your property,” said Robinson.

Robinson noted that burning structures — even if they’re abandoned and on private property — is illegal unless a permit is obtained.


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