The prolonged drought, coupled with seasonal winds prompted the Prowers County Commissioners to pass a resolution reinstating the ordinance banning open fires in Prowers County. Sheriff Jim Faull and Kyle Neill, Fire Chief of Holly Fire Protection District discussed the ordinance prohibiting open fires in the county.
Regional news recently centered on the rangeland fires near Franktown, Boulder, Golden and Indian Gulch. Several smaller rangeland fires broke out last week between Pueblo and La Junta. Over 38,000 acres, approximately 60 square miles of range land burned this week south of Dodge City, KS. Neill said he understood that fire teams had to combat ash, smoke blowing dust from the open land.
Sheriff Faull said the ordinance requires a permit be issued before any kind of burn is performed in the county. He added that the number of agricultural permits issued is limited as county firefighters don’t want to over-extend their personnel and equipment if they are called upon to fight any kind of fires, especially those that are whipped by winds on the prairie. He added that charges can be brought against those persons who burn without a ban, and they could be expected to pay for the cost of the fire department response.
Aside from the damage that can be caused by rangeland fires, the commissioners are concerned that such a fire could erode the progress made over the past few years to the tamarisk eradication program along the Arkansas River between Granada and Holly. Once sprayed with an herbicide, the tamarisk plants must lie dormant for three years before they are completely destroyed. Even a fire, which would not get to the roots of the plant, would be all it takes to bring in out of dormancy. The ban will remain in effect until lifted.