BROOKINGS – Brookings County commissioners passed a countywide burn ban Thursday morning, making it illegal for anyone in the county outside city limits to burn anything without a permit.
The ban went into effect immediately.
Much of South Dakota is currently under extreme fire conditions due to the lack of rain this past summer. According to the National Weather Service, as of Oct. 15, the entire eastern half of South Dakota is at high risk for grassland fire, and much of western South Dakota is in the “very high” category.
Resolution 20-58 passed unanimously, with Brookings Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann and Brookings County Sherriff Marty Stanwick speaking in favor of passing the ban.
“Due to the dry conditions and lack of rain and so forth, we went into a burn ban,” Stanwick said in an interview with The Register. “It’s extremely dry out there; even on my way to work this morning I passed by a small ditch fire. But you cannot have any open burning without a permit from your local fire department. So, say you’re in the Elkton area, you’ll need a permit from their fire department to have any open burning. But I don’t think that any fire departments are going to issue burn permits just due to the fact that it’s so dry.”
“But you can burn your garbage in a garbage container so as long as you’ve got a cover on it so sparks don’t go anywhere, and you can do a fire pit with a cover on it, too. But this all covers the rural areas, none of the cities,” Stanwick explained.
“This is coming as a request from the Brookings County Firefighters Association, which is comprised of all fire agencies covering a portion of Brookings County,” Hartmann said. “Due to the extremely dry conditions and wind conditions we’ve had, we made the request to the county.”
“The conditions are extremely dry even if they look green, it will carry fire fairly quickly and the winds, of course, will push that. We’re not looking at much precipitation in the forecast. So what we’ve requested is no open burning. So no burning in road ditches – a lot of people have found trees and just want to burn them. It’s just currently not safe to do those types of things.” The ban will continue until commissioners agree that the weather conditions do not present issues for open burning in the county.
Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]