By Sarah Pridgeon
With the grass beginning to dry and cure in the summer sunshine, burning restrictions across the county will go back into effect on Monday, July 29. Until further notice, burning is only permitted at night and in strictly monitored conditions.
“Yes, burning may still take place, but only between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. People just need to be extra careful when burning or playing around,” says Katie Allen, Crook County Fire Warden Secretary, stressing the importance of spark arrestors wherever possible.
Fireworks are prohibited entirely and any permitted fire, such as a campfire in an established fire ring or an enclosed charcoal grill, must take place within a cleared area at least ten feet in radius with fire suppression present. Trash or refuse fire must be inside a container provided with a spark arrester.
The use of acetylene cutting torches and electric arc welders, as well as any propane or branding activities, is permitted, but only in cleared areas ten feet in radius. Any object with an internal or external combustion engine, such as a chainsaw, ATV or motorcycle, must have an approved spark arrestor.
Though the wet spring season delayed fire season somewhat, the recent lightning storms indicate how much the ground is now drying out. The county’s firefighters have attended three or four small fires over the last several days.
On Saturday, a fire at Black & Yellow Road eventually reached almost an acre. A hay bale also caught fire in the County Shop area on Friday when a lightning bolt struck directly through its center.
Permits are available from the County Commissioners for the discharge of fireworks and from the County Fire Warden for any other open burning activity or outdoor fire. Unless temporarily lifted by the Fire Warden, the burning restrictions will remain in place until October 31.