Burn regulations discussed

By Tim Horan
Salina Journal – May 31, 2017

New regulations that could require restitution to fire departments for manpower or water required to fight out-of-control prescribed burns and stiffer penalties for those not following the rules are being considered in Saline County.

“If so, what should those penalties be?” Emergency Management Director Hannah Stambaugh asked in a discussion Tuesday with Saline County commissioners. “Should it be a combination of restitution to the fire department? Should it be a loss of your burn permit privileges for a period of time? Or should it be stiffer fines? We just wanted to solicit some information from folks.

“We really don’t want more regulations. We want it as easy as possible for people to do safe burning.”

Regulations are being examined seriously but are in preliminary stages, she said.

The review was prompted by the number of burns that have gotten out of control, requiring firefighter response.

In 2016, firefighters responded to 102 grass fires, 43 of which started as prescribed burns, or 42 percent. In 2015, 43 percent of 151 grass fires started as prescribed burns.

“When the numbers get that high, that’s quite concerning,” Stambaugh said.
Weather network online

Citizens may provide input into proposed regulations by responding by June 5 to a survey on the county’s website, http://www.saline.org.

Of the 352 responses received through Saturday, the question receiving the most comment is: Should there be stiffer penalties for a person who does not follow the rules and regulations?

Stambaum said the burn survey is a way to solicit opinions of everyone in the county.

“We kept it short and simple, but we wanted to know where it is you burn in Saline County or if you don’t burn in Saline County,” she said. “What is it you typically burn? We asked questions as far as supporting any type of regulation changes to, maybe, require the amount of manpower you need to have for a burn or the water, the amount of equipment that you have.”

Stambaugh said emergency management also is looking for ways to better monitor wind and weather conditions.

The department has been working with Kansas Wesleyan University to monitor weather stations. Currently, there are five weather stations on a weather website maintained by Kansas Wesleyan University, weatherpartners.com — located at Crisis City, Emergency Management, Kansas Wesleyan University, Rolling Hills Zoo and Solomon High School. Soon to be added to the network are weather stations at Rural Fire District No. 5 on North Simpson Road, Southeast of Saline School and at Crumbaker Pork on Smolan Road.

“That web page is now up and running,” Stambaugh said. “We also talked about doing some wind forecasting. That is obviously really important if you are going to be burning quite a few acres.”

Controlled burns are prohibited if wind speed reaches 15 mph.
Group formed on issue

One of the key components to a new burn regulation is how to distinguish between major agriculture burners and the homeowner burning limbs or grass, she said.

“We still have some things we need to discuss,” she said.

A group was formed more than a year ago to discuss burn regulations. It includes representatives of different segments of the county — firefighting, emergency management, farmers, ranches and elected officials.

The next meeting of that group will be Tuesday.

The group has reviewed burn regulations in other Kansas counties.

“We also met with the county attorney’s office to discuss, ‘What can we do within our regulations to define what some of the penalties are if you are not doing what you should be doing in controlling your fires?’” she said.

A prescribed burn association is being discussed.

“It has been a very effective use of manpower, resources and tools across the state. We have seen it in several states in Oklahoma and Texas as well,” she said. “It’s the whole concept of neighbors helping neighbors.”

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

0 Responses to “Burn regulations discussed”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: