Schuylkill County burn ban will take effect Friday

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SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa-  Schuylkill County has been experiencing an exceptional number of uncontrolled fires due to the carelessness of individuals. The fires are fueled by dry, fallen branches and leaf ground cover and driven by brisk winds.

Therefore, with overwhelming support of area fire chiefs and on the recommendation of the District Forester, Timothy Ladner of the Weiser Forest District, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Schuylkill County Commissioners have approved a county-wide ban on open burning that will take effect at noon on Friday April 22, 2016 and will remain in place until noon on Sunday May 22, 2016.
Uncontrolled fires in brush and wooded areas put a tremendous strain on our firefighters, endanger watersheds, obstruct transportation corridors, pose a threat to commercial operations and residential areas. We are taking this action earlier in the season with the hope of raising awareness within the community and limiting the danger of uncontrolled fires. We urge the public to adhere to these temporary restrictions in the interest of everyone’s safety.

Under the ban, residents are forbidden from any outdoor burning of items such as garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter and paper. Grilling in proper containers is still permitted; however, the ban forbids lighting fires in outdoor burn barrels or fire rings. Residents violating the ban face fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $300 for each additional violation. Violators are also responsible for the cost of extinguishment of any wildland fire they cause.

Businesses may request an exemption to the burn ban. A letter of explanation detailing the adverse economic effects of the ban must be submitted to the Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency for review and consideration.

The last county-wide burn ban was in April of 2015 and resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of uncontrolled fires compared to similar periods of time without bans in place. DCNR personnel will continually monitor rainfall and forest and ground cover conditions throughout the ban. If the District Forester deems necessary, he may recommend the commissioners extend the ban an additional thirty days. Questions can be directed to the county’s Emergency Management Agency at 570-621-9966 or via email to: .