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Burn ban extended indefinitely in Brown County
Updated on: 07.03.12

 

Commissioners have extended the burn ban in Brown County until conditions outside improve.

The vote at the July 2 meeting went 2-1, with Commissioner Mary Fouch providing the sole opposition. She said she wanted the county to also ban burning such as campfires, along with consumer fireworks, but Commissioners John Kennard and Darrell Kent decided against extending the ban that far.

The current ban is the same as the one put in place on June 27. All open burning of any kind is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, conventional fuels such as wood or other combustibles.

There are exceptions to the ban, however. The following types of burning are permitted:

Campfires and other recreational fires that are enclosed in a fire ring with a diameter of no more than 48 inches and a height of at least 10 inches.

Grills fueled by charcoal briquettes, propane or natural gas.

Tobacco smoking products, items and devices, provided that they are fully extinguished before disposal and are properly and safely disposed of.

Also not included in the ban are fireworks.

During the meeting, county attorney Kurt Young advised the commissioners that state law prohibits counties from banning consumer fireworks, but Emergency Management Agency Director Dallas “Dak” Kelp presented a way he said they could bypass the state law.

Kelp said by signing a disaster declaration due to the drought commissioners could include fireworks in the ban. The declaration would also ban fires at campgrounds in Brown County State Park and Yellowwood State Forest.

Kennard and Kent stopped short of signing the declaration, in part because Young informed them of possible civil and criminal penalties a person could face if they caused injury to someone by lighting off fireworks.

“Even though the county does not have the power to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks, people need to be aware that with conditions the way they are right now, you are treading on thin ice if you do shoot fireworks,” Young said.

The penalties range from a Class C infraction on up to a Class C felony if a person is killed. The infraction carries up to a $500 fine while the felony offense is up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Young explained that criminal charges could be brought against someone who ignites fireworks that cause a fire where a firefighter suffers injury doing his or her job.

Kelp added that fire departments can charge for extinguishing fires and Hazmat responses.

“It’s not going to be hard to rack up a bunch of money,” Kelp said.

The vote granted Kennard, who is commissioner president, the power to lift the burn ban. Young said that way the commissioners would not have to call a special meeting.

 

Obituaries
See Full List »

Felix Santiago, 66, Martinsville
  

Jonathan Lee Crowley, 46, Nashville
  Son of Richard L. and Wilma Kehrt Crowley of Brown County

Richard L. Crabtree, 82, Brown County native
  Graduate of Nashville High School

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