Burn ban implemented after recent wild-land fires

Jason Angus

May 5, 2014

Jackson County Commissioners issued a county-wide burn ban during their meeting on Monday, May 5, after two controlled burns rampantly spread last week.

“We had a number of controlled burns that got out of hand,” explained Jackson County Emergency Manager Wayne Cain. “I checked with all the Fire Chiefs in the County and they are all in agreement with it. We don’t have any precipitation forecast over the next 10 days, so we meet all the criteria at this time.” The resolution was not on the agenda, but was considered under new business. “Since everything that has transpired since the agenda was created, I felt like we really needed to implement a burn ban,” Cain said.

Last week, the Jackson County Wildlife Emergency Task Force responded with 21 firetrucks to tame a controlled burn about 1.5 miles west of Olustee. Windy and dry conditions were a major factor.

Commissioner Marty Clinton stated that a farmer was burning felled timber that caught fire and burned 600-800 acres. The fire rekindled on Sunday and was extinguished early Monday morning around 5 a.m. Clinton informed there was also an”out of hand” controlled burn on Saturday where Friendship Fire Department responded.

Clinton thanked all the County Fire Departments for supplying equipment to those fires and commented that all the counties worked well together.

The resolution, to end on May 31, deems it unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, range, crop or other wild-lands, campfire, bonfire, burning trash, or any other material that may cause a wild-land fire. Any person convicted of a violation is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined up top $500, or imprisonment of 1 year.

The only exceptions to the burn ban are for road construction projects, welding, cutting torch, and grinding activities. LPG, natural gas grills, and charcoal-fired cooking outside in a grilling receptacle are permitted as long as conducted over a non-flammable surface and at least five feet from flammable vegetation. The resolution will be posted in the Altus Times for 30 days.

Also during the meeting, Commissioners approved last meeting’s minutes and reports from the Court Clerk’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Health Department, Sheriff’s Department, and the Assessor’s Office. Commissioners approved two purchase orders for Alternative Sentencing Solutions for District 2 Drug Court including Drug Lab Testing ($250) and Alcohol and GPS bracelets ($3,000).

Commissioners approved supplemental appropriations for the Assessor’s Fee Revolving Fund ($481), Sheriff’s Service Fee ($1,447.50), Sheriff’s Contract Prisoners ($337), District 3 Drug Court ($330), and for the Highway Department for O’Reilly ($500).

Commissioners also approved an Installation Permit between Dobson Technologies and the Board of County Commissioners of Jackson County to install 1-1.5” poly duct with 1 fire cable at NS 2050 from NW corner of EW 1570 South on the west side of NS 2050 two miles to the NW corner of EW 1590.

Also, County Assessor Lisa Roberson informed that the Assessor’s Office will be closed Thursday, May 8, and Friday, May 9.

After approval of claims, the meeting adjourned.