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Commissioners OK burn ban

November 23, 2010

Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tommy Sullivan keeps tab on a grass fire. With the threat of wildfires growing, Howard County commissioners enacted a 90-day burn ban Monday. (File photo)

Howard County commissioners approved a 90-day burn ban Monday morning as the amount of dry grass and brush — coupled with high winds — threatens to turn the Crossroads area into a tinder box.

The court approved the ban by a unanimous vote after County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan explained the danger posed by reckless burning in the area.

“It's an extremely dangerous situation right now, and it's going to get worse as we move into the winter months,” Sullivan said. “There are plenty of ways fire can start, such as downed electrical lines or problems with the railroad tracks, so we need to do everything we can to keep the human causes of these grass and brush fires to a minimum.”

Sullivan said he and his firefighters are already seeing an increase in the number of grass fires reported in the county, and the most common cause is coming from down power lines.

“We're already seeing an average of two fires per day, which is a big increase,” he said. “In all honesty, I expect to see that increase to seven or eight per day before it's all over. We're hoping the burn ban will help keep that number as low as possible.

“The majority of fires we're seeing right now are from downed power lines. We've been having pretty high winds, and one day it's hitting us at 35 mph out of the west, then the next day it's 35 mph out of the east. Just like any kind of wire, if you work it back and forth long enough, it will break.”

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