No Burn Ban for Lawrence County

LAWRENCE COUNTY--Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham is urging residents to use caution and common sense when it comes to burning things right now. It is very hot and extremely dry. Small trash fires can quickly grow out of control.

Even so, no burn ban has been issued for Lawrence County. Latham does not see any rationale to issuing a burn ban. "Because we don't really have a way of enforcing it. There are no lawrence county ordinances that lay out criteria for issuing a burn ban."

Latham says that enforcing burn bans will busy many emergency personnel and also creates a double standard as harvest season approaches. "The reason I'm saying a double standard, well, say my neighbor says John Doe is down here burning his field off. I can't burn my garbage or trash."

Just like any other time, you must be careful when dealing with fire. Hoxie resident James Gray was burning some pine needles Thursday Morning with a garden hose and rake on hand, just a few things you can do to control the burn. Says Gray, "Don't burn a big pile. Keep it small. Keep you water hose handy and when you see a fire going out on the grass put the grass out. And just let the pile itself burn and you should be alright."

Gray has not noticed a problem with burning in the area, but responsibility is very important. In the case with Gray's pine needles, or any material for that matter, you must constantly monitor the fire. "You have pine needles underneath the fire that don't catch on fire and if you don't put them out it will go down to them and they'll pop back up again. And if you're not out here to control it something could happen."

That something could be the fire spreading to your neighbor's yard, house, even to nearby woods and fields full of crops. While there is no burn ban in lawrence county, the fire's damage is still your responsibility.

Latham notes, "People think, well, it's just an accident. But it's not accident anymore. Because we know it's extremely dry and if you let that fire get away you're responsible for what it destroys."