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After the ban, calls coming for outdoor burning

April 07, 2006|by DON AINES

and JENNIFER FITCH waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Despite a ban on open burning that went into effect at 3 p.m. Thursday in Franklin County, the 911 center received at least 10 calls about outdoor fires or investigations in the hours after that deadline, according to a dispatcher.

Shortly after the ban began, Waynesboro firefighters went to a home on Gap Road in Quincy Township for a report of outdoor burning, Waynesboro Fire Department Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman said.

"Somebody who knew there was a ban in effect called," Hartman said. "He had it pretty well out by the time we got there," Hartman said of the man who was burning trash and brush.

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Hartman said the man was not cited for the violation. When the Board of County Commissioners approved the 30-day ban Tuesday, it included a provision for fines of up to $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second and $300 for a third and subsequent offenses.

"A lot of people have no clue there is a ban," Hartman said.

"So far, people have been fairly cooperative. A lot of them don't realize there is a countywide burn ban. The ones that do see smoke and call," said MMP&W Fire Lt. Dale Carbaugh. Firefighters from Mercersburg, Pa., went out on four calls after the ban began.

Carbaugh said there was an outside investigation that was reported at 7:53 p.m. in the 9000 block of Letzburg Road. Firefighters also assisted on a brush fire in the 2000 block of Path Valley Road at 7:10 p.m., he said.

There was another brush fire in the 1000 block of Path Valley Road at 5:39 p.m., Carbaugh said. At 5:13 p.m., there was a call about someone burning trash in the 1100 block of Fort Loudon Road, he said.

None of the fires that MMP&W firefighters responded to caused significant damage, he said. Carbaugh said he was unaware of anyone being cited for violating the ban.

When the commissioners approved the ban, county Emergency Services Director Jerry Flasher said the 911 center received calls for 71 brush fires, 13 mountain fires and 37 outside investigations in March. The ban was recommended by county fire chiefs and District Forester Michael Kusko Jr. because of the fire threat posed by below normal rainfall and snowfall during the past several months.

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