County may ban burning

County may ban burning A farmer keeps a close watch on this controlled burn in a field located north of The Bluffs golf course Sunday afternoon. Using a tractor and disk, he made sure there was a wide firebreak between the burning material in the field and the edge of the road. by David Lias The Clay County Commission now has the power to prohibit open burning within the county.

If weather patterns don't change greatly in the next month or so, it appears the commissioners may have to put their new ordinance into effect.

The new county law, approved Tuesday on its second reading by the commission, authorizes the commission to take action when open burning in the county is deemed to be hazardous.

The law states that "when weather or other conditions shall exist which may make the open burning of any substance unduly hazardous and a danger to public safety, the Clay County Board of Commissioners may by resolution declare a fire danger emergency."

During times that a fire danger emergency is declared, all open burning of any substance shall be prohibited within any or all of the unincorporated area of Clay County until the commission rescinds the fire danger declaration.

The new law also carries penalties for those who choose to ignore the county's warnings against burning during dry conditions.

"Any person who shall create, commit, maintain or permit to be created, committed or maintained an open burning in violation of a resolution declaring a fire danger emergency shall be deemed to have committed a public nuisance," the new law states.

The maximum penalty for anyone convicted of breaking this law is a $200 fine and a 30 day sentence in the Clay County Jail.

Open burning is defined as the intentional burning of any substance, whether natural or manmade, or the intentional casting off of any burning substance, whether natural or manmade, except the burning of substances in a container sufficient to prohibit the escape of any of the burning substance, or any sparks, flames or hot ashes from the container.

The escape of any burning substance, or the escape of any sparks, flames or hot ashes from any container shall be deemed as evidence that the container was insufficient to meet the exception from the law's definition of open burning.

The maintaining of a fire in an interior fireplace, stove or furnace is excluded from the definition of open burning.

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