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Burn resolution to be reviewed

Will stay the same for now, however

Staff writer

At a hastily called meeting Tuesday night, county fire chiefs and others discussed whether changes to the 2017 county burn resolution should be made.

The resolution contains a provision that it could be rewritten or revised as often as every year, but no changes have been made since its passage. The plan was to revise it by the end of 2023.

The resolution states that if any portion of the county is at extremely high fire risk, no burning is allowed in the county.

Nathan Brunner, Ramona fire chief and owner of a custom fire business, wants to change how a section of the resolution is interpreted to allow portions of the county that are at less risk to have controlled burns.

Brunner has talked with County Counsel Brad Jantz and Sheriff Jeff Soyez, but the fire chiefs association didn’t discuss the idea until Tuesday night’s meeting. Opinions were mixed.

On the one hand, technology has improved since the resolution was put in place.

An index used by emergency dispatchers to approve or reject controlled burns is released by the National Weather Service in Wichita. The weather service now can more efficiently pinpoint areas with higher risk of fire.

“As a contractor, I need to be able to have the most amount of safe burn days — to be able to burn in the most days I can,” he said.

On the other hand, proper channels exist to change to resolution. Most wanted to go through those channels rather than simply reinterpreting rules.

Going through channels won the day.

Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee called for a vote, pointing to the second paragraph of the resolution, stating that if any of Marion County is in very high fire risk, then the county doesn’t burn. Even Brunner voted to abide by the existing resolution.

Only rancher Chuck McLinden, an advisory member of the original burn resolution committee, voted opposed.

For now, the resolution will remain the same, but the committee reviewing the resolution will kick into high gear.

Kaiser said the committee would meet and talk with the chiefs association, hear public comment, discuss the matter again, meet with lawyers, announce a public meeting in the newspaper, hear public comments, and talk to commissioners.

Last modified March 14, 2024

 

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