March 9, 2021

McKenzie County goes under fire ban

By Ashleigh Plemper
Farmer Staff Writer

A burn ban is in effect for McKenzie County following approval by the county commissioners during their March 2 meeting.
“It’s critical that people be extra safe this year. We had a red flag day last week and we’ve been on high alert ever since,” says Karolin Jappe, McKenzie County Emergency manager.
As it is typical for a burn ban to kick in this time of year, Jappe says the burn ban has gone into effect earlier and earlier the past several years.
“It used to be late March or early April. This year the ban is going into effect in early March,” says Jappe.
While that may be, Jappe can see why it’s necessary as she recalls the year of 1999, when a grass fire ended up burning a large portion of the grasslands.
“In 1999, there was a large grass fire that took out somewhere around 70,000 acres,” says Jappe.
Interestingly enough, a big fire that erupted just last week is suspected to have struck from something as small as a cigarette, Jappe says.
“The wind takes it (spark/flame) and runs. It’s like putting gas in front of the fire,” says Jappe. “The more oxygen it consumes, the faster the fire goes.”
According to the county’s 2021 fire emergency and burn ban declaration, burning is prohibited on days with the fire index ratings of high, very high, or extreme and/or a red flag warning has been issued for McKenzie County.

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