Posted 4/24/19 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
It’s springtime in western North Dakota. And that means that while everyone is waiting for the much needed rains to fall and the countryside to start greening up, that for all of the area’s pastures, croplands and road ditches, the fire danger is very high.
In the past two weeks, area volunteer fire departments have already been called out to suppress several fires that burned up not only pastures and fields, but structures as well.
Which is why last week the McKenzie County Board of County Commissioners enacted a burn ban that will be in place until the end of October. The reason for the burn ban is simple. No one wants to see fires wipe out pastures and crops or destroy personal property.
As enacted, on Red Flag Days when there are high winds on top of dry conditions, or at any other time when conditions result in high or extremely high fire danger, the burn ban prohibits bonfires or any permitted fires.
In addition, the burn ban prohibits the burning of any wood pallets or oilfield trade waste at any time, regardless of the level of the fire danger.
As part of the county’s burn ban, before any non-agricultural entity can burn anything, they need to have received a burn permit that is signed by their local fire chief.
Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate this year and bless the county and all of western North Dakota with timely rains that keep the fire danger low. But in the event that dry conditions persist, the last thing that anyone wants is to be responsible for causing a fire that has the capability of damaging crops, pastures, or someone’s personal property.
And if you need to burn something, according to Karolin Jappe, McKenzie County Emergency manager, the process of obtaining the needed burn permit is as easy as going online to https://county.mckenziecounty.net/usrfiles/2016_Burn_Permit_Application.pdf to complete the paperwork.
And most importantly, just because the grass and the countryside is green, doesn’t mean that the fire danger can’t be in the high or extremely high levels. If you are thinking about burning, even if you have a permit, it is best to check the daily heat index that is posted on the McKenzie County Emergency Management Facebook page.
By using a little common sense, we can all do our part to lessen the chance of a controlled fire turning into something very bad.