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Open Burning Regulations and Safety

On July 8, 2015, Home Rule Resolution No. HR-15-7-3 was passed by the Board of County Commissioners. This resolution changed the process of burn bans in unincorporated areas and was necessary to promote fire safety and to protect persons and property from the dangers of open burning. On March 29, 2017, Resolution No. HR 17-3-1 was passed incorporating recommended changes to the previous resolution. Whether or not burning is allowed or prohibited is now determined daily.

Burn bans are now determined daily. The Rangeland Fire Index is published daily online or individuals can call 785-832-5394 - the Douglas County Burn Hotline - after 8AM each morning. 
Burning is strictly prohibited on days where the Rangeland Fire Index is measured at Very High or Extreme. A local determination may be made based upon the following variables: 

  1. Local jurisdictional authority
  2. Rangeland Fire Index is high but the forecast is for sustained winds of greater than 15mph.
  3. Rangeland Fire Index is low or moderate, but the forecast is for sustained winds greater than 20mph.
  4. Resource limitation
  5. Local conditions of dryness

Douglas County has a burn hotline for those wishing to burn. Call 785-832-5394 to hear the current burn status and to record your burn with the Douglas County Dispatch Center (as required by the resolution). 
Be prepared to share the following information when logging your burn:

  • Location of the intended burn and the name, address and telephone number of the person responsible
  • Duration and schedule of the burning
  • Description of the proposed burn

Allowed open burning in the unincorporated areas of Douglas County is limited to the following:

  • Agricultural open burning.  The open burning of vegetation such as grass, woody species, crop residue, and other dry plant growth for the purpose of crop, range, pasture, wildlife or watershed management (this includes the burning of routine brush piles accumulated from the property). Brush, limbs, and other materials brought from offsite are not exempted from open burning regulations and shall not be burned
  • Residential open burning.  Open burning at a residential premise containing five or less dwelling units and incidental to the normal habitation of the units
  • Ceremonial and cooking open burning.  Open burning for cooking or ceremonial purposes on public or private land regularly used for recreational purposes.  A ceremonial and cooking open burning fire shall not exceed five feet in diameter at its base.  Ceremonial and cooking open burning fires that exceed this limitation require a permit granted pursuant to Section 6-107 of the Douglas County Resolution.
  • Construction open burning.  Open burning of clean wood from construction projects carried on at the construction site. Materials other than clean wood or materials brought from offsite are not exempted from open burning regulations and shall not be burned.
  • The person conducting the burn shall notify Douglas County Communications Center or the local fire control authority with jurisdiction over the area before the burning begins. This can be done by calling the Douglas County Burn Hotline. (DCR) 
  • A person shall not conduct an open burn that creates a traffic safety hazard. If conditions exist that may result in smoke blowing toward a public roadway and/or if the burn will take place within 1,000 feet of the roadway, the person conducting the burn shall give adequate notification to the Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Office, or other appropriate state or local traffic control authorities before burning. (K.A.R. & DCR)
  • A person shall not conduct an open burn that creates an airport safety hazard. If smoke may affect visibility at an airport and/or is within one mile of an airport, the person conducting the burn shall give adequate notification to the appropriate airport authorities before burning. (K.A.R. & DCR)
  • The person conducting the burn shall ensure that the burning is supervised until the fire is extinguished. (K.A.R. & DCR)
  • The person conducting the burning shall stockpile the material to be burned, dry it to the extent possible before it is burned, and assure that it is free of matter that will inhibit good combustion. (K.A.R.)
  • A person shall not burn heavy smoke-producing materials including heavy oils, tires, and tarpaper. (K.A.R.) 
  • A person shall not initiate burning during the nighttime, which for the purposes of this regulation is defined as the period from two hours before sunset until one hour after sunrise. A person shall not add material to a fire after two hours before sunset. (K.A.R.)
  • A person shall not burn within 1,000 feet of any occupied dwelling, unless the occupant of that dwelling has been notified before the burn. (K.A.R.)

 

*DCR-Douglas County Resolution

  • The person conducting the burn shall notify Douglas County Communications Center or the local fire control authority with jurisdiction over the area before the burning begins. This can be done by calling the Douglas County Burn Hotline.
  • A person shall not conduct an open burn that creates a traffic safety hazard. If conditions exist that may result in smoke blowing toward a public roadway, the person conducting the burn shall give adequate notification to the Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Office, or other appropriate state or local traffic control authorities before burning.
  • A person shall not conduct an open burn that creates an airport safety hazard. If smoke may affect visibility at an airport, the person conducting the burn shall give adequate notification to the appropriate airport authorities before burning.
  • The person conducting the burn shall ensure that the burning is supervised until the fire is extinguished.
     

Always make sure you follow Kansas statutes and regulations regarding burning! They are found under: K.A.R. 28-19-645, K.A.R. 28-19-647 and K.A.R. 28-19-648 (Authorized by K.S.A. 65-3005 and K.S.A. 65-3010).

You can review the entire County Resolution on Open Burning. A general violation of open burning policy will result in a Class C misdemeanor or a Class A misdemeanor during a burn ban, in accordance with K.S.A 48-939.