County enacts burn ban
Because of a large amount of underbrush and low humidity of late, Jack County issued a burn ban Monday morning.
County Judge Mitchell Davenport said the index the county uses to determine burn bans is well below what would normally get a ban set. Heavy rains last Spring has brought about a large amount of underbrush in areas throughout the county.
Strong winds and low humidity of late has spawned grass fires. Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Hefner, also a Bryson firefighter, said his department battled a fire that burned 364 acres north of Jermyn last week.
County officials are also struggling with a lack of volunteers going to fires. Multiple departments are being called to each fire because of only one firefighter per department able to fight fires in many cases.
“We’re uncertain of what we’re going to find once we get onsite these days,” Hefner said. “We are finding that human negligence is responsible for many of these fires.”
Many people says they are having a controlled burn, which doesn’t exist in the judge’s mind.
“Once you ignite something, it is no longer controlled,” Davenport said. “You can have water nearby but it only takes a spark to get a fire going.”
Hefner added that while we are not in a drought, the fuel load caused by the heavy rains last spring as well as not being sure from morning to afternoon of what conditions are going to be allows for a ban to be called.
“We would need about 2-3 weeks of the rains they are forecasting to get out of this situation,” Hefner said. “Fighting a fire two weeks ago we were literally walking through water to get to the fire because of the amount of underbrush.”