A ban on residential and commercial burning that has been in effect for more than a month was lifted by Starkville Fire Department officials late last week.
The ban was imposed Aug. 5 after the area saw extremely hot daytime temperatures, sustained dry conditions and periods of high wind gusts consistently for several days.
The ban was to remain in effect until the area saw more frequent rainfall, Fire Department officials said at the time. Over the last few weeks, sufficient rainfall and a noticeable drop in temperatures have occurred to warrant the lifting of the ban, said Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy.
“We’ve had enough rain recently and the temperatures have cooled off enough where we feel there is not an imminent danger of a wildfire that could spread rapidly,” said McCurdy.
Though the ban has been lifted, anyone who wants to conduct any residential or commercial burning must still obtain the proper permits as required by city ordinance, McCurdy said.
The $2 fee may be paid at the City Clerk’s Office, and — for residential burning — one of the Fire Department’s two fire marshals must survey the site where burning is to occur to make sure the following regulations can be met:
• The location is at least 50 feet from any structure and provisions are in place to keep fire from spreading within the 50-foot limitation.
• If within 50 feet, the fire must be contained within an approved waste burner located at least 15 feet from any structure.
• Only rubbish — leaves, tree branches or grass — may be burned. Burning of garbage, treated wood, shingles, plastics, rubber, construction material or any material that would create a dense smoke or odor is prohibited.
• All burning must take place during daylight hours and must be attended until the fire is extinguished. A garden hose connected to a water supply or other fire extinguishing equipment must be readily available for use.
• Any burning in dry or windy conditions is prohibited by order of the fire marshals at any time.
• Any burning at commercial sites — particularly those for construction — must seek approval of the Board of Aldermen before a burn permit may be granted. Commercial burn permits are granted by the board on a case-by-case basis.
Once the on-site inspection is complete, the burn permit will be granted. Violation of the burn permit regulations or burning without a permit will result in a fine of $500 plus all costs incurred by the City of Starkville. Each day will be considered a new violation.
Burning rubbish past the Fire Department deadline showing smoke or open flame will result in a fine of $100 per day.
For more information about city burning regulations and fire prevention, contact McCurdy, Fire Chief Rodger Mann or Fire Marshal Stein McMullen at the Fire Department at 323-1845 or 323-2962.