• Last modified 391 days ago (April 27, 2023)


Burn resolution to be reviewed

Staff writer

County rules on burning will be reviewed May 15 by a subcommittee chosen by county fire chiefs.

Lincolnville fire chief Les Kaiser, who will report the committee’s recommendations to the county fire chiefs association, said committee members are Hillsboro chief Ben Steketee, Ramona chief and fire contractor Nathan Brunner, Marion fire chief Chris Killough, Dennis Carlson of the Kansas Forest Service, rancher Chuck McLinden, and former Lehigh fire chief Fred Sheridan, who was chairman of the first burn resolution committee.

“He’ll bring a lot to the table,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser said the committee would review the county’s current burn resolution to see whether changes were needed.

When the current resolution was developed, fire chiefs agreed to review it annually, Kaiser said, but nobody had issues that needed to be addressed.

He expects committee members to suggest increasing charges imposed when fire departments have to respond to controlled burns.

Under the current resolution, violation of burn regulations could result in fines of $100 to $1,000 and charges of $75 an hour for each fire vehicle on site plus $25 per man-hour with a minimum charge of two hours.

Kaiser said the committee would look at other provisions of the resolution as well.

The plan is to have recommendations back to the chiefs association by July 15.

“There’s a lot of talk about this, as you guys know,” Goessel fire chief Matt Voth told other chiefs during an online meeting two weeks ago. “I’ve been getting comments from several chiefs and several members of the public that maybe we need to make some changes to the burn resolution.”

County emergency manager Marcy Hostetler offered documents for the subcommittee’s reference.

“I have received other counties’ burn resolutions,” she said.

The existing resolution requires open burns to be reported to dispatchers before they are lighted.

Dispatchers are to check the National Weather Service’s fire danger index. If the index is at “very high” level or above, the burn will not be allowed.

All burning is to be attended at all times.

The resolution also authorizes the emergency management director to ban burning in an emergency.

Last modified April 27, 2023