Our area has seen a rash of brush fires recently and that is why Schuylkill County will ban all opening burning starting Friday at noon.
Smoke from one of the latest brush fires Thursday could be seen for miles. A plane flew overhead and dumped water on the flames on the border of Schuylkill and Carbon counties.
Schuylkill County officials said there have been nearly three brush fires a day this month.
That’s why the use of burn barrels and other forms of open burning will be illegal as of noon Friday. Some believe at times the fires are intentionally set.
“A lot of illegal dumping up on the roads up in the wooded areas. People are burning that debris and rubbish,” said Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March. “Wind picks it up and throws it into the brush area and starts the fire.”
County officials said anyone violating the burn ban can be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for the third.
In Tuscarora, Ian Burnett helps his friend, Pat Coleman fix his house. They believe most people will obey the burn ban. “It will cause a little more trash for somebody but it will cause less headache for the fire departments so it’s defiantly a smart decision on their parts” Burnett said.
Coleman said he uses his barrel once in a while to get rid of trash but added he will obey the ban. “Everything is just dry and it’s been windy the past couple of days so any little ember would light the fire, no problem,” Coleman said.
Joan Chitchosin uses the dry air and hangs her clothes. She said she worries about the lack of rain and snow. “I can’t believe it the winters we had in the past. My husband used to work for PennDOT and he used to be on the road constantly and these past couple of years it’s sad now we don’t have the snow and now we don’t have the rain,” Chitchosin said.
Schuylkill County officials said they could lift the open burning ban if and when we get some rain.