Chiefs request county burn ban

Open burning in Webster County has been banned after county fire chiefs made the request due to the extreme dry conditions in rural areas.

The ban went into effect at 8 a.m. today.

Webster County Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Jorgensen said the ban prevents burning of any kind in the county.

“It does not allow for any open burning,” Jorgensen said. “People can burn under special circumstances if their local chief will allow them to. He can issue an open burning permit, but that’s usually pretty hard to do. They set the burn ban for a reason.”

Burn bans in Webster County are issued after local fire chiefs ask that one be instituted.

“They requested it because of the continued hot weather,” Jorgensen said. “It’s drying out all the vegetation, which makes it much more likely for grass fires and field fires.”

The fire chiefs are the ones who get the burn ban process going, according to Jorgensen.

“The rural fire chiefs get together when they start to feel there is a potential problem with fires,” he said. “They ask me to process the paperwork, and I submit their request to the state.”

While burning is banned in Webster County, Jorgensen said it doesn’t effect Fort Dodge because the city has its own burning ordinance.

Fort Dodge Fire Marshal Doug Ostbloom said that ordinance regulates burning.

“It restricts you to recreational fires, like fire pits, fireplaces, and items you would buy such as metal containers with screens on them that you would put wood in,” Ostbloom said. “They can’t burn refuse, garbage, leaves.”

He said the purpose of the burn ordinance is to tell people what is allowed to be burned.

However, there are occasions where the ban is temporarily lifted.

“Once or twice a year the city council has a period, usually in the spring or fall, that they allow for the burning of leaves,” he said.

Ostbloom said because of the ordinance, countywide burn bans don’t impact the city. However, the ban does cover the Coleman District.

“We go down and cover the Coleman District for fires, but the city of Fort Dodge burning ordinance doesn’t comply there,” he said. “Usually if we have a complaint down there the sheriff would go down there.”

Jorgensen said the burn ban will remain in effect until the fire chiefs request it to be lifted.

“They get together and vote on it,” he said. “They will rescind it when they feel the conditions are no longer such that we could have problems with grass fires and field fires.”