Posted 5/08/13 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
Because of abnormally dry conditions this spring, and the fact that the area has sustained or been threatened by rural fires, the McKenzie County Commissioners have issued a countywide Burn Ban. The ban on burning will be effective during times when the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Index is in the Very High or Extreme Category for McKenzie County, and it will be in effect until further notice.
“The lack of moisture and green vegetation, in combination with the potential we’ve had for high winds, has been cause for alarm,” states Jerry Samuelson, McKenzie County Emergency Services coordinator. “Even when the index is high, people need to use caution until the area gets some moisture.”
According to the Burn Ban, all open burning of any outdoor fire that may create a public safety hazard, including, but not limited to, barrel/garbage burning, campfires, chimneys, cooking fires (i.e. barbecue grills and pits), fire pits, fire rings, patio heaters, prescribed burns/controlled burns, fireworks (except for professional commercial fireworks displays), welders or cutting torches without adequate fire suppression equipment on hand, charcoal grills and smoking (i.e. cigarettes, cigars, etc.) without an ashtray or proper disposal container is prohibited.
Citizens of McKenzie County are also requested to follow their user manuals and manufacturer guidelines as well as take safety precautions such as having an appropriate fire extinguisher, water and shovel available.
This Burn Ban has been put into effect by the McKenzie County Commissioners for McKenzie County because of the abnormally dry conditions and the threat of rural fires.
“This past weekend, Arnegard had a rural fire than burned over 200 acres,” states Samuelson. “And Watford City has already responded to several grass fires as well.”
The commissioners feel the impact of a fire could threaten the health, well-being and safety of citizens in McKenzie County, and the cost of response and equipment wear that would ensue may be in excess of available county resources.
The Burn Ban does not include fireplaces inside a building, gas or propane grills and fire training by professionally trained and authorized personnel.
Samuelson encourages residents to go online to make themselves aware of the current Fire Danger Index.
“We’ll rescind this ban as soon as we can, but until then, residents need to be aware of the potential for danger,” states Samuelson.
Effective May 7, 2013, and until further notice, any individual who willfully violates the Burn Ban is guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of a 30-day imprisonment or a fine of $1,000, or both.
The North Dakota Rural Fire Danger Guide is posted on the North Dakota Division of Emergency Services web site: http://www.nd.gov/des/info/firedanger.html or residents can contact the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department at 444-3654.