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Maryland burn ban is lifted

April 25, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM and PEPPER BALLARD

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources lifted the open-air burn ban in Washington County on Monday after 1.34 inches of rain fell from Friday to Sunday.

The ban was enacted March 31 due to dry conditions across the state. The ban was lifted for all Maryland counties still under restriction.

Since April 1, 2.8 inches of rain have fallen in Washington County, according to AccuWeather.

Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Jason Eckstine said he was confident that enough rain fell in the area to remove the ban.

"I think we're in a safe zone," he said.

Eckstine said some residents began burning again after some rain fell earlier this month.

"I didn't feel comfortable (removing the ban) until this past rainstorm over the weekend," he said.

Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Freddie Johnson said after the weekend rainfall that he believed the ban would be lifted.

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"We were hoping it would be," he said.

Johnson said some residents continued to burn during the ban, and firefighters were called to those fires.

Alan L. Matheny, public information officer for The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, said he was concerned that people would rush out to burn trash and other items without being careful.

"There's a concern that people will run out and start burning everything at once," he said. "Just don't get carried away."

Existing open-air burning regulations include the following, according to the DNR:

- A "natural or constructed fire break that is free of flammable material of at least 10 feet wide completely around the material to be burned."

- Appropriate personnel and equipment are on hand to keep the fire contained.

- At least one person must be there until the fire is extinguished.

- Burn between 4 p.m. and midnight except when the ground is covered with snow.

These apply only to outdoor fires 200 feet from woodland or adjacent to flammable materials that could carry the fire to woodland areas.

For details, go to www.dnr.maryland.gov.

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