Burn ban reduced
The Mercer County Commission, with recommendation from the Mercer County Sheriff and local fire chiefs, reduced the countywide Stage II Fire Ban to a countywide Stage I Fire Ban until further notice at its regular meeting April 18 in Stanton.
STAGE I RESTRICTIONS
The following acts are prohibited until further notice:
1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site or improved site.
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
EXEMPTIONS TO STAGE I RESTRICTIONS
1. Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
2. Persons using a device fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off.
3. Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written notice
4. Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
5. Other exceptions unique to each agency/tribe. An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.
According to Mercer County Emergency Manager Carmen Reed, calls requesting to burn will be forwarded to her, and she will forward the requests to local fire chiefs at her discretion. If given the OK by the fire chief in that particular district, Reed will track where the controlled burn is taking place and inform dispatch.
"I know this may be more work for some, but I feel that it is important to let people burn when they can safely do so and in cooperation with the fire departments, because I think this fire ban will continue throughout the summer," Reed wrote in an email to county and city officials.
Anyone who willfully violates the ban is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail.