Burn ban discussion continues

Staff writer

After changing a stipulation last week in the county’s burn ban policy, commissioners amended those changes Monday.

At the previous meeting March 24, commissioners approved to change the policy from calling special meetings to make weeklong burn bans to banning fires for 24 hours whenever wind speeds exceeded 20 mph.

Fire contractors Nathan Brunner and Leonard Jirak of Fire 4 Hire attended the discussion, voicing their displeasure with the change.

“You’re not going to have people making a living,” Jirak said. “We haven’t had a 48-hour timeframe to burn in the last week.”

Because of the change, 74 calls for permission to burn were turned down Saturday. Emergency Manager Randy Frank said he helped respond to eight fires on Sunday alone.

“You’re not going to protect anybody,” Jirak said. “It’s going to get worse.”

After additional discussion with fire chiefs Mike Regnier and Lester Kaiser and Sheriff Rob Craft, commissioners agreed to shorten the length of the ban to 12 hours from when winds exceed 20 mph. After another weeklong trial period, commissioners will look for more feedback.

In other business:

  • The county regular sales tax received in March totaled $49,561. Sales tax for the county jail was $43,252.
  • Commissioners approved amended changes for county employees carrying concealed weapons. Changes specified that employees cannot carry a weapon in a county vehicle, and they cannot store a weapon in a county facility or personal vehicle, if used for county business.
  • Pending notification of park and lake superintendent Steve Hudson and favorable weather conditions, commissioners gave Diane Williams permission for use of fireworks at the county lake annual picnic Aug. 30.
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