County lifts burn ban; may consider drafting ordinanceThe Stutsman County Commission ended its burn ban Tuesday, but will consider making the ban into an ordinance at some point in the future. “The fire chiefs … feel comfortable that we’ve greened up enough and we don’t need it anymore,” said Jerry Bergquist, the county’s emergency manager.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission ended its burn ban Tuesday, but will consider making the ban into an ordinance at some point in the future.
“The fire chiefs … feel comfortable that we’ve greened up enough and we don’t need it anymore,” said Jerry Bergquist, the county’s emergency manager.
Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser was in favor of making the burn ban into a permanent ordinance.
The ban only went into effect when the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Index reached the “very high” or “extreme” categories, or if the National Weather Service assigned the county a red flag warning, indicating that fire conditions were volatile.
Finding out whether the index had hit “very high” or “extreme” was as simple as visiting the county’s website or calling law enforcement officials.
“This is a more workable fire ban than I’ve ever seen,” Kaiser said.
Commissioner Dale Marks raised concerns about people’s ability to burn slough-like areas that could be too damp to burn except on “very high” or “extreme” days. Marks also wondered about the most recent winter season, when the fire danger index was much higher than usual.
Commissioner Dennis Ova questioned what people camping should do if they were camping for a weekend and the fire index was very high or extreme.
Kaiser suggested the ordinance could be written to require a cover for the fire, and compared the possibility to the burning regulations the city of Jamestown uses.
Commissioner Dave Schwartz said the burn ban had confused some people.
“It would eliminate all the confusion because everybody would get used to knowing what’s going on,” said Commissioner Mark Klose.
The commission indicated the idea of making the burn ban a permanent ordinance was worth considering but did not vote on the issue.
In other news Tuesday, the commission:
* received a work plan from the State Historical Society of North Dakota detailing some work that needs to be done on the old Stutsman County courthouse.
Previous walkthroughs and studies have indicated the presence of mold, asbestos, temporary electrical wiring that needs to be removed and other questions about the condition of the building.
* authorized $6,000 in funding for the Frontier Village Association for insurance and building maintenance.
* accepted one bid for a road grader and requested bids for a second road grader.
* agreed to jointly purchase 911 equipment with Richland County, which will allow the two counties to use each other as backups should a dispatch center fail.
* approved a new emergency preparedness plan for county facilities.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be
reached at 701-952-8453
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