March 21, 2012

Countywide Stage II Burn Ban in effect

The Mercer County Commission has approved a countywide Stage II Burn Ban for Mercer County.

According to a proclamation signed by Commission Chairman Lyle Latimer, the burn ban was implemented March 21 due to "abnormally dry conditions compiled with significant fuel supplies resulting in extreme fire potential" within the county.

Stage II restrictions include prohibiting the building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials; we1ding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame; using an explosive; and operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

Exemptions to Stage II restrictions include: persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act; persons using a device fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off; operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and trails; emergency repair of public utilities and railroads; persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice; any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty; all land within a city boundary is exempted; welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame, with extinguishment capabilities immediately accessible; other exceptions unique to each agency/tribe.

In accordance with NDCC Section 37-17.1-10.1, any individual who willfully violates the burn ban is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 30 days in jail. The Mercer County Sheriff's Department is authorized to issue citations to violators.

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