Commissioners pass ordinance making burn bans possible here

During their Monday meeting, the Ozark County Commissioners reviewed and passed an ordinance giving county officials the power to issue a burn ban if conditions are dangerous. 

Presiding Commissioner John Turner told the Timesthis is the first time Ozark County has had a burn ban ordinance. Although recent conditions have been extremely dry, the commissioners are not currently enacting a burn ban because Ozark County has recently received some rain –  with more in the forecast. “We’ll consult the state fire marshal and the local fire departments in the event that we’re considering a burn ban to make sure it’s appropriate,” Turner said. “We won’t just make that decision ourselves.”

The ordinance says the commissioners may order a countywide burn ban for up to 180 days at one time, and they may dissolve the burn ban anytime when they determine that the public’s health and safety are no longer threatened by outdoor burning. The ordinance defines outdoor burning as any type of burning that is held outside “caused by human endeavor.” This includes, but is not limited to, burning trash, burning fields, burning fence rows, burning debris, burning right-of-way areas, burning building material and discarding lit cigarettes, cigars or pipe materials. 

If drought conditions are severe, the countywide burn ban may prohibit the explosion or ignition of fireworks labeled as “skyrocket” or “missile” in the 2012 edition of the American Fireworks Standard Laboratory. The ban would not include other fireworks. 

After the commissioners announce a burn ban, the Ozark County Clerk will provide copies of the order to the Ozark County sheriff’s department and health department, the Ozark County Times and area fire districts. Anyone who knowingly violates a burn ban can be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 for a first offense, according to the ordinance. Subsequent violations are subject to the range of punishment for a class A misdemeanor set out in sections RSMo 558.002 and 558.011. 

Ozark County Times

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