Barry County Commission enacts burn ban

Friday, February 19, 2016

High winds escalating fires in rural areas

The Barry County Commission has enacted a burn ban, effective immediately and continuing through Feb. 26.

Commission members have enacted the ban in an effort to protect the grasslands and crops lands, as well as provide protections for the county's watershed areas.

High winds pose an imminent threat to livestock, refuge areas and wildlife, as well as personal property.

"In the past two days, firefighters have battled over 30 fires in the county," said David Compton, Barry County emergency management Office director. "In response to this situation, which poses a threat to the safety of Barry County residents, commissioners have coordinated with the Barry County Fire Chiefs Association and the Barry County Office of Emergency Management to issue the outdoor burning ban."

The ordinance categorizes the threat of fire as "extreme," citing above-normal seasonal temperatures and dry conditions as reasons for the ban.

The ordinance outlines a number of prohibited acts, including: careless discard of lighted materials, including cigarettes, cigars and tobacco from pipes; setting, starting, igniting, maintaining, spreading or fueling an open fire to include fields, pastures, stubble, vegetation, debris, waste, trash, garbage, structures or fires not securely contained in a fireproof container that contains sparks, ashes and embers; building, maintaining or using an open fire or camp fire except in permanent stoves, fireplaces or barbecue grills; and prescribed burning of fence rows, fields, wild lands, ravines, trash band debris. Prescribed burning may be exempt from the ban if burning is necessary for crop survival and has been approved by the Fire Chief governing the area where the prescribed burn is to take place. Prescribed burns must be authorized in advance through the local fire chief, who must notify the Barry County Dispatch Center and the Barry County Emergency Management Director.

Those who knowingly and willfully violate the ordinance will be subject to penalties of law.

For more information, residents may call Compton at 417-737-1142 or their jurisdictional fire department.

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