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Franklin County burn ban extended into next week

April 05, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Commissioners extended the countywide ban on burning into next week to allow time for municipalities to get their own restrictions in place.

The ban was set to expire at 3 p.m. Saturday, but Commissioner G. Warren Elliott pointed out that county offices would be closed and residents would be unable to ask questions about the ban.

He said extending the ban to midnight April 11 also allows municipalities with drier conditions a chance to impose their own restrictions.

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Elliott said there was no perfect solution.

"People have very strong opinions. Some places are drier than others. It's time to go back to control at a local level," he said.

For example, Antrim Township officials have said they would prefer agricultural burns be done now while there is moisture in the valley grasses rather than waiting until the summer months.

The commissioners also supported other recommendations Antrim Township proposed, including:

n Not burning recyclable materials.

n Not burning during windy conditions.

n Screening burn barrels.

n Having a responsible person attending all open burning with available extinguishing materials.

"We really don't have authority to implement provisions," like those, Elliott said, but townships and boroughs could.

By extending the ban five days, it would allow municipalities a chance to put similar conditions in place and inform residents.

"First and foremost, people need to use common sense," Elliott said. "There are all kinds of places to take cardboard and newspapers. You don't need to burn it."

Commissioner Cheryl Plummer supported the recommendation to lift the ban next week but warned water supplies are still low and a major fire caused by an out-of-control burn would take a toll on the public water.

"The rains we've gotten have done nothing to relieve the water situation," Plummer said.

The commissioners enacted the 30-day ban last month at the request of the district forester and the majority of fire chiefs in the county.

The commissioners' decision Thursday goes against the district forester's request to extend the burn ban an additional 30 days, but Elliott pointed out a state-ordered burn ban is in place in the forests through the end of April.

The countywide ban prohibits outdoor burning of garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter, paper, vegetative matter involved with land clearing or any other sort of debris in either a barrel or fire ring on the ground.

For a copy of the recycling guide, which breaks down guidelines township by township and lists yard waste and newspaper drop-off facilities, call the Franklin County Planning office at 1-717-261-3855, or the Franklin County Commissioners at 1-717-261-3810.

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