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Energy and Environment

Sedgwick County Burn Ban Extended Through Wednesday

fire_pit_burn_ban.jpg
tuchodi, flickr Creative Commons
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The Wichita Fire Department has announced that a local burn ban, which has been in place for a week, will be extended to Wednesday. The ban limits the kind of outside fires permitted throughout Sedgwick County.

February was unusually warm and dry in Kansas, with an average of only a half-inch of precipitation statewide for the entire month.

Dry conditions, coupled with strong gusts of wind, make it easy for fires to start and grow quickly, according to Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp.

“Last week, we had a very small fire, about the size of dinner plate, start from a discarded cigarette,” Crisp said. "It ended up burning almost a full block of grass—six houses, three outbuildings, and a bunch of kids toys.”

Crisp said it only took a matter of minutes for the fire to spread.

The burn ban limits any outdoor flames to BBQ grills, which means fire pits, chimineas and other kinds of bonfires aren’t permitted.

Crisp says the city can issue citations of up to $2,500 for those who ignore the burn ban.

Crisp says that fine pales in comparison to the civil penalties that are possible through damaging private property.

Crisp advises anyone smoking a cigarette to put it out in a container of water when finished, and to never throw cigarettes out of moving vehicles.

Rain is in the forecast for Tuesday, which should help lift the ban when fire department officials evaluate conditions on Wednesday.

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Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter @SeanSandefur

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