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Antrim extends ban on burning

July 28, 2010|By DANA BROWN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved to extend the township's current two-week burning ban indefinitely and approved enforcement of the ban to be at the discretion of township officials.

Due to the ongoing dry conditions, Township Administrator Brad Graham urged the supervisors to extend the ban beyond the initial two-week period.

Graham told supervisors that an incident earlier in the day on Tuesday when a road crew reported a grass fire near a house on Brown's Mill Road demonstrated the need for extending the current ban. Graham said the fire was apparently caused by the burning of cardboard boxes, which then spread to the surrounding grassy area.

Graham said the grass fire showed the need for extending the burning ban because there "is a risk of something getting out of hand."

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"Today could have been a much bigger deal," he said.

The ban prohibits all open fires.

The supervisors agreed to extend the ban, but the discussion centered around how to enforce the ban.

Graham pointed out that many people just aren't aware of the ban.

"At what level do we turn that kind of thing over," Graham said.

The board agreed that a warning was the first step unless the violation was due to negligence.

Supervisor Curtis Myers suggested that township officials, Graham and Sylvia House, Code Enforcement Officer, should use their discretion when enforcing the code but added that the punishment should fit the crime.

"We don't desire or intend to become the fire police, but we have to respond if people call," Graham said.

John Lisko, township solicitor, said the township is under no obligation to give warnings.

"I agree with the philosophy of giving them a warning," Lisko said, but he added that "ignorance of the law cannot be an excuse for breaking the law."

Lisko said penalties for open burning during the ban could include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

In other business, the supervisors approved the road paving bid of $797,971.93 from Valley Quarries, Inc. of Chambersburg, Pa. for the paving of Ridge Road, Talhelm Road, Angle Road and Marion Road.

Supervisors Rick Baer and James Byers were absent.

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