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Counties ban outside burning

3/26/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The list of counties implementing burn bans -- just as the National Weather Service issues what likely will be a number of springtime wind advisories and red flag warnings -- continues to grow.

The latest came Tuesday, when the Russell County Commission passed a resolution prohibiting virtually all types of outside burning.

Russell's resolution follows on the heels of resolutions passed by Ness and Trego counties Monday, both of which also are banning outside burning.

The three counties are in addition to five others -- Norton, Phillips, Rooks, Osborne and Ellis counties -- that already have banned outside burning. Sherman, Logan and Gove counties aren't issuing burning permits, even though they haven't implemented complete bans on outside burning.

Today's wind advisories, affecting a big chunk of counties stretching from Gove County on the west to Topeka on the east, could fan flames and provide the impetus for even more counties to ban outside burning. Russell and Osborne counties and points east are in red flag warnings -- a reflection of the danger for critical fire weather conditions.

While the resolutions vary in detail, they typically ban most types of outside burning.

Ness County banned all outside burning, while Russell County banned everything but outside stoves and fireplaces and propane or charcoal barbecue grills in developed recreational sites or residential areas.

Controlled burns of pastures and fence lines are prohibited in Russell County, as are fireworks.

Trego County also banned fireworks but plans to revisit the issue closer to the Fourth of July. Trego County's only exception is burning in a covered trash barrel.

Ellis County's burn ban, sought in the wake of a string of fires that are considered to be the work of an arsonist, is similar, banning virtually all outside burning other than barbecue grills.

The burn ban resolutions passed by county commissions cover the entire county, not just unincorporated areas, according to Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Department of Emergency Management.