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Wichita County commissioners enact burn ban

Wichita County Commissioners passed a declaration of disaster for Wichita County, during their regular meeting Monday, because the county is under imminent threat of severe damage, injury or loss of life or property resulting from the threat of wildfires due to drought and other weather related conditions.

The 90 day emergency order is violated if a person burns or orders outdoor burning of any combustible materials in the unincorporated area of the county.

Combustible materials are described as but not limited to fireworks, discarded cigarettes or other flammable materials used in activities such as welding and any other activity that result in a wildfire.

There are exceptions which include: for the purpose of firefighter training, an appropriate burn may be initiated at the discretion and under the authority of the fire chief of the appropriate department.

Commercial welding operations are authorized under the following guidelines:
*A spotter is required for each welder, each cutter, each grinder, and for any activity that causes or may cause spark.

* A diameter around welding shall be a minimum of 25 feet and clear of vegetation, if possible, kept wet. The welding perimeter must be three times the height of the actual welding.

* A minimum of 10 gallons of water must be on site.

* A minimum of one water pressure fire extinguisher per spotter is required and one spare. Each extinguisher should be at least two and a half gallons.

*Each welding rig must have a class B chemical fire extinguisher.

* If the work area cannot be cleared of vegetation, proper precautionary measures must be taken.

* Welding in an enclosed area is acceptable.

* No welding permitted if winds are 20 mph or greater.

* Prior to any welding activity, a phone call shall be placed by the welder or company conducting welding operations to the Wichita County Sheriff’s Officer at 766-8276, relaying the location of the project, call phone for contact person, name of responsible and name of welder.

Persons violating the order may be arrested and fined up to $500.

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