If all the firefighters in the county constantly risking life and limb to put out controlled burns that grow out of control don’t persuade you, then the costly damage caused to a bridge and the need to declare a state of disaster should.
Marion County needs to rethink its policies on controlled burns.
Burns should be allowed solely for agricultural purposes. People living in rural areas who want to get rid of refuse should do just as city dwellers are — pay to have it hauled off.
Those burning for agricultural purposes should face stiff requirements about equipment and personnel needed to control their fires. And they should bear financial responsibility — forfeited bonds, perhaps — if their plans prove inadequate.
Those burning without asking permission before a match is ever struck need to be stuck with a hefty enough fine to discourage them from doing so again.
As is, Marion County is playing with fire, and sooner or later, we’re going to get seriously burned.
— ERIC MEYER